Please leave your guns at home.
That’s the request from Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz, who sent an open letter “respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.”
The letter comes after Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor, killed 12 people during a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
Schultz said he isn’t calling for an outright ban on guns at Starbucks locations because such a ban would force employees to confront armed customers.
“That is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on,” Schultz wrote, adding that he knows he can’t please everyone.
Schultz said pro-gun activists have used Starbucks locations as a “political stage” for misleading media events that portray the coffee chain as a “champion of open carry” policies.
“To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners,” he wrote.
“We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores,” Schultz wrote.
“For those who oppose ‘open carry,’ we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores,” he continued. “For those who champion ‘open carry,’ please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.”