Starbucks has a very big friend in the pro-gun lobby, who has backed the chain for allowing firearms in stores, and a foe in gun control advocates. But now, in the wake of some protests and closures from pressure on both sides of the fence, Connecticut lawmakers are urging Starbucks to ban firearms in stores once and for all.
The trouble began last month, when pro-gun and anti-gun advocates held rallies and debates at the Newtown, Conn., Starbucks location. In the wake of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Starbucks headquarters decided to close the Newtown location early out of respect for its residents. Starbucks made it clear that it sponsored no such gun advocacy event in a blog post: "We recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding this topic... We continue to encourage customers and advocacy groups from all sides of the debate to contact their elected officials, who make the open carry laws that our company follows. Our long-standing approach to this topic has been to comply with local laws and statutes in the communities we serve."
Later, pro-gun control advocacy groups urged a boycott of Starbucks for allowing firearms in its "open carry" states. Now, TheHill.com reports that Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty endorsed a letter to CEO Howard Schultz urging the chain to officially ban firearms in its stores. "[T]o prevent another Sandy Hook, we as a society must prioritize the sanctity of human life over the individual’s 'right to carry,'" the letter reads.
TheHill.com also reports that Schultz spoke to a father of one of the Sandy Hook victims last week in response to the letter, but hasn't made any further steps on a decision to ban firearms — at least, not yet. TheHill.com also notes that this isn't the first time gun-control groups have urged Starbucks to change its policies; Chicago-based National Gun Victims Action Council has pressured Starbucks to change its policies for years now.