Yael T. Abouhalkah

Starbucks stuns gun lovers: Leave your weapons at home

Updated: 2013-09-18T22:40:59Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

Talk about a big, positive and stunning victory for gun control advocates: Starbucks officials this week are taking a strong stand against customers bringing weapons into about 7,000 of its outlets spread all across America.

The coffee chain had been in the forefront of an argument over guns because of its lax rules on people toting weapons into their stores.

While many businesses around the nation post signs saying they are “gun free,” Starbucks allowed local open carry laws to apply, meaning people could bring guns into the stores if they wanted.

Some gun lovers held “Starbucks Appreciation Days” as a way of showering the chain with praise — all the while irritating people who don’t want the proliferation of guns to continue in this country.

But Chief Executive Howard Schultz finally backtracked late Tuesday.

In an open letter that reportedly will run in national media on Thursday, he said the appreciation events “disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of ‘open carry.’ To be clear: We do not want these events in our stores.” He asked for “responsible gun owners” to respect its request.

The Starbucks action is a welcome and unexpected move.

Notice, though, that it comes just days after the latest mass shooting in America killed 12 people at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

Could this be the turn of the tide that gun control advocates have hoped for all along, especially after 20 children were massacred in Newtown, Conn., in late 2012?

Let’s not get our hopes up too high.

So many other states, including Kansas, have passed laws actually loosening gun restrictions in recent months. That’s not a good sign, and neither is the fact that even the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate could not pass modest gun legislation a few months ago.

Still, the fact that a major U.S. corporation is willing to act in a manner that stands up to the gun crowd in America is a positive sign, something to build on.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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