Gun advocates turned out bearing arms in Starbucks locations across the country on Friday, to show their appreciation for the chain’s permissive policy in states with “open carry” laws.
The Facebook Page “Gun Owners” appears to have initiated the movement:
Starbucks is allowing us to lawfully carry firearms in their store. Recently, they have been the target of unjust attacks from certain groups that do not support our right to bear arms. We will thank starbucks for standing up for our right to bear arms by going there on Friday, August 9th.
We ask that if you choose to carry a firearm during this event that you follow all local, state, and national laws; and if you choose not to carry that you wear pro-gun rights apparel.
Unlike many other large chains, Starbucks does not bar customers who are legally carrying firearms, if local laws allow it. This policy has embroiled the company in the gun control controversy for years now; a similar “Gun Appreciation Day” was called for Starbucks locations in February 2012 (on 2/22, in honor of the second amendment), and the association between gun advocates and the coffee shop goes back as far as 2010.
Throughout, Starbucks has firmly distanced itself from the debate, while maintaining its policy. This week, a Starbucks spokesperson said the company did not endorse the event.
The event caused the most controversy in Newtown, CT, where a member of Connecticut Open Carry urged people to meet at a local shop. Twenty-six people, including twenty elementary school students, were killed by a gunman in that town last December.
At least one prominent gun rights site criticized a previous Starbucks gun day, calling out fellow gun owners for snapping photos of their unholstered firearms in stores, calling it “unnecessary” and “potentially dangerous” handling.
And the Huffington Post points out that there have been at least two reports of accidental shootings in Starbucks.