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In recent months, the "open-carry" arm of the gun-rights movement, which advocates that gun owners carry visible weapons as they go about their daily business, have been exercising their rights. They’ve been proudly displaying their sidearms in public places, sometimes meeting up in groups.
Starbucks’ association with a politically liberal, "latte sipper" ethos, made it a tempting target for gun-control advocates. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence attracted more than 26,000 signatures demanding that Starbucks "offer espresso shots, not gunshots."
Starbucks’ response? It reiterated its policy of following state and local laws and politely asked everyone to leave it out of the debate.
Marketing experts say standing firm was probably the best option Starbucks had.
Charles R. Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova School of Business. Changing its position would diminish the company’s reputation and alienate people on the opposite side of the debate.
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Starbucks is hardly unique in following state and local laws that allow weapons to be carried openly, which is legal in 43 states.
Most large retailers, among them Target Corp., Home Depot Inc. and Best Buy Inc., say they follow state and local laws. The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., didn’t respond to queries, but open-carry advocates also count it among those that don’t restrict patrons from openly carrying weapons.
Such policies are "pretty much the majority rule" among large retailers said John Pierce, the co-founder of OpenCarry.org, a gun rights advocacy group.
Jim Snyder, a 59-year-old retired military member in northern Virginia now goes out of his way to visit Starbucks to show his support for its stance. He’s not even a coffee drinker, but sips hot chocolate while wearing a 9 mm handgun strapped to his belt.
"Quite frankly, if I saw a sign up there and it said no guns, I wouldn’t go in there, even if I wasn’t carrying," said Snyder, who has been carrying his weapon in stores and restaurants for about 15 years. "And there’s a lot of gun owners who feel that way."
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Bluestein reported from Atlanta. AP Business Writer Laura Impellizzeri in San Francisco and Mae Anderson in New York also contributed.
"The fourth man's dark, accusing song had scratched our comfort hard and long..."
"Be not intimidated ... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your Liberties by any pretense of Politeness, Delicacy, or Decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for Hypocrisy, Chicanery, and Cowardice." - John Adams
Tyranny with Manners is still Tyranny.