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Guns and venti shots

Starbucks-and-guns Starbucks is being prodded to take a stand on state laws allowing people to carry unconcealed guns.  

Opponents say the company's coffee houses should ban gun-toting customers, just as they ban those who aren't wearing shirts or shoes.

Proponents of the law say the company should keep its caffein-stained fingers off the second amendment. 

Both sides love the debate because it keeps the issue in the news. 

My own opinion was forged when AT&T got caught in the crossfire between the Religious Right and Planned Parenthood over abortion. I think Starbucks should avoid this issue like watery Nescafe. The company should say nothing beyond "our stores follow local laws." Otherwise, it risks being sucked into a debate it doesn't want to have. 

For example, the statement posted on its web site suggests that it hesitates to put its baristas in the position of asking gun-toting customers to take their sidearms elsewhere.  That suggests that there's some danger involved, which is exactly the position opponents of the laws have taken. Without meaning to, Starbucks appears to be taking sides.

When I was studying philosophy, I asked the metaphysics professor a question.  He stopped wandering around in front of the blackboard, looked me in the eye and said something like, "In 30 years of teaching, I've never heard such a provocative question."  So naturally, I elaborated.  "Oh, that's what you mean," he said.  "No that's stupid."

Sometimes less is more.


You're right, Dick--follow local law and custom. Arizona is a pro-gun state. We have no gun laws that go beyond Federal requirements. Anyone who's qualified to buy a handgun can carry it openly. And, recently, the Legislature voted to permit concealed carry without a permit. BUT state law also permits any business to bar guns on their premises, and provides penalties for anyone disobeying the business's policy. Some local businesses, like Costco, do bar guns from their premises. But, to my knowledge, Costco has never been a target of NRA or other gun-owner protests. I'm guessing that it's because gun owners resent when government puts strictures on law-abiding citizens, but they accept that private businesses can choose gun policies that suit them.

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