News of the open letter from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, a polite request for gun owners to not bring guns to Starbucks, has set the gun world on fire – or at least my Facebook feed.
A condensed version of events: Starbucks has in years past not taken a stance on firearms in their stores. They’ve said that local, state, and federal laws are enough. Some gun owners took that as a version of support for open carry in their stores, and went so far as to walk into such establishments while carrying AKs, ARs, and shotguns. Because…other people were doing it, and it seemed like a good idea at the time?
This is sheer idiocy.
Understandably, the result is that Starbucks now doesn’t want guns in their stores. It’s not a hard rule, but a polite request. They didn’t want to be involved, some folks dragged them into it, and they felt their only choice was to make a public statement about the topic.
I have heard a few statements repeated by extreme open carry advocates in recent days, and I would like to address them here.
“Because I can! It’s my right and you can’t take away my rights!”
There are a lot of things you “can” do. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should, with great power comes great responsibility, etc etc.
Furthermore, you don’t have a right to carry a firearm onto private property without the permission of the owner. And since the Supreme Court has ruled that the government can place some restrictions on the carry of firearms, I don’t think California’s ban on open carry (which came as a direct result of open carry demonstrations in the state!) will be overturned any time soon. You certainly won’t be granted the ability to carry a firearm onto private property without the permission of the owner.
In other words, you can blather on about what you think should be reality, but actual-reality is different. It doesn’t matter what you think or what I think. Stop participating in Second Amendment circle jerks on the Internet and face the reality that your actions have consequences.
“F*** you, Starbucks!”
First, if you are unable to articulate your position on a sensitive topic without expletives forming a significant portion of your statements, please stop talking. Your words reflect poorly on gun owners as a whole.
Second, every single private business in America is not a battleground for gun rights. Most business owners want to sell a product, employ people, serve people, whatever. Their business is not about us, and it is selfish, immature, and stupid for some gun owners to make everything about them. It is stupid to organize a boycott simply because a company wants to be left out of a heated discussion.
Finally, even if a company takes a stand against firearm ownership, so what? Life is too short to spend time hating people who don’t like guns. I find it delightfully ironic that some of my Kenneth Cole clothing conceals certain firearms very well.
Variations on this theme: “We need to desensitize people to firearms!” or “People need to stop being uncomfortable around firearms!” or “You don’t have a right to not be offended!”
So let me get this straight, long gun open carry advocates want average citizens to get used to firearms, and their plan to achieve this goal is to do something that they know is going to scare/offend/startle people?
Like I said, sheer idiocy.
I am comfortable around firearms. I carry a concealed firearm every day. I have too many guns, including scary black guns. I’m actually not as vehemently opposed to open carry as some others in the gun industry. Open carry has its place – Starbucks not included.
But if I was enjoying a Chai Tea Latte in my local Starbucks and saw a dude walk in carrying a shotgun, I would become very uncomfortable, very fast. I can only imagine how people who don’t trip on five guns when they get out of bed would react. There is no need to make people upset in order to reach them, unless you are an attention whore.
What extreme open carry advocates seem to not understand is that we are winning this particular culture war – and that they are not helping. Politicians love to talk about what percentage of people support this gun control measure or that, but the number of people who own guns, and the number of people who think it’s okay for average citizens to own guns? Those numbers are increasing, not decreasing. We might differ on the details of the type of gun and how they might be acquired, but gun owners are not facing a hostile US population.
That is, we aren’t as long as we don’t do stupid crap like carry AKs into Starbucks. What have massive open carry demonstrations achieved? Restrictions on how firearms may be carried in a major US state and a major US business chain.
We’ll win over far more people if we show them that gun owners are intelligent, thoughtful, and polite.