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Reuters reports that Starbucks is asking its US customers to leave their guns at home, though it is not imposing a blanket ban on weapons in its stores. The request does not apply to law enforcement officials.

While in the past Starbucks has been painted as anti-gun, in fact the company's official policy has been to default to local gun laws. Earlier this year, gun rights advocates decided to hold a "Starbucks Appreciation Day," allegedly to thank the company for its position ... and even planned to stage a demonstration of support at a Starbucks in Newtown, Connecticut, the town where an elementary school was the site of a slaughter late last year of 20 children and six adults. Out of concern for local sensibilities, Starbucks closed the store on the day that the demonstration was scheduled to take place.

The Reuters story writes that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz "said in an open letter to customers late Tuesday that Starbucks Appreciation Day events 'disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of 'open carry.' To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores ... We've seen the 'open carry' debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening,' Schultz wrote, noting that 'some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction,' at times soliciting and confronting employees and patrons. We found ourselves in a position where advocates on both sides of the issue were using Starbucks as a staging ground for their own political position."

Schultz also says that this decision is not a reaction to the mass shootings this week at the Washington Navy Yard.
KC's View:
While I agree with Starbucks approach on this issue - an outright ban would have been a dumb idea, simply because it would potentially create conflicts between Starbucks employees and armed customers - I do think it is a little disingenuous to suggest that it is an effort to stay removed from the politics of the issue. First of all, Starbucks generally has had no fear of politics, whether it comes to same sex marriage or health care issues. And second, even this request has the tinge of politics to it.

Schultz says he doesn't think Starbucks will lose many customers over this decision. Nor do I.