SEATTLE, Wash. -- Starbucks was caught in the middle of the gun debate as a mom’s group asked people to “Skip Starbucks Saturday” for its gun policy. The boycott appeared to have the opposite effect as many people – even those who don’t normally go to Starbucks or who don’t own guns – vowed to go to the coffee giant in support of its policy.
While smoking within 25 feet isn’t allowed, customers can carry loaded weapons inside stores. Starbucks allows customers to carry guns in its stores where it is allowed by state laws.
“I have my 380 Zombie Slayer,” said Mary McFadden, a gun owner who showed up to an Everett Starbucks in a show of support.
According to McFadden, emotions towards gun violence shouldn’t be taken out on those that are trained and legally allowed to have firearms.
“Feelings aren’t covered under the Constitution. If you’re scared of a weapon, maybe you’re lacking education in it,” she said.
Jacob Kekuk, the leader of gun rights organization 2nd Enforcers, says his mom was carjacked at gunpoint two weeks ago. He’s also supports the company’s stance.
“If I’m in between my vehicle and a store, I want to be able to protect myself,” said Kekuk.
But with three accidental shootings inside Starbucks stores the last two years, the local chapter of Moms Demand Action says guns do not belong there.
“How do I take my coffee? Without any extra shots,” said Lori Pender.
The group is gathering signatures for an initiative to require background checks on all gun sales in the state. First, it’s pressuring Starbucks to change its policy.
“They’ve done a lot for the community. This is their opportunity to become a leader,” said Eileen Bennhoff, a mother with two young kids.
While McFadden understands the concern, she’s happy Starbucks is standing its ground.
“Being able to protect yourself, that’s just a right you can’t take away,” she said.
According to the company, gun violence is a serious issue and something lawmakers should address. Starbucks affirms its stance -- the protest will not change its policy as long as it follows the law. That has anti-gun advocates wondering why Starbucks allows guns in its stores, but not at its headquarters.
We asked people on the KING 5 Facebook page Saturday whether they would boycott Starbucks. The overwhelming majority of comments were from people saying they would support the company. Here are just some of the comments on both sides. They have not been edited.
- “As a barista at Starbucks this was one of the busiest mornings I have ever experienced! Pretty awesome! One customer came through THREE times all before noon just to show support! I love Starbucks customers!"
- “Tully's got my business today and will until Starbucks changes its policy.”
- “My caramel frap was full of delicious Second Amendment liberty today. Might have a cappuccino later tonight!”
- “I will never knowingly step into a retail establishment where guns are tolerated. Life is too short.”
- “Their policy is to follow local laws. The issue is with policy makers, not Starbucks.”
- “I feel safer at an establishment that allows firearms inside.”
- “Avoid the place like the plague. And now the over-caffeinated are armed? Nope.”
- “Not a big fan of Starbucks coffee but will go just to show my support for their support!!!”
- “Their business their choice .... You have choice to go or not to go ....”
- “I'm boycotting for good...when someone else's rights infringe on my own, that's legal tyranny. I won't buy any Starbucks product again. I have the right in the constitution to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And if in my pursuit of happiness I am uncomfortable in a gunslinging coffee shop they've just messed with my constitutional rights!”