In an open letter posted on Sept. 17 of this year, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz respectfully requested that Starbucks customers no longer bring guns into its stores.
Previously, Starbucks had a firearms policy aligning with the gun laws of respective states. In states with concealed and open carry laws, like Idaho, gun owners were allowed to bring their weapons into Starbucks stores.
The Starbucks on Boise State’s campus abides preeminently by the policies of the university, which prohibit the possession of firearms on university premises. Students frequenting other Starbucks in the area, such as the one on Broadway Avenue, may be affected by Starbucks’ request.
“This is a request and not a ban. We’re not anti or pro gun, we just believe that weapons should not be part of our coffeehouse experience and that most of our customers and partners (employees) would be much more comfortable without them in our stores,” Starbucks spokeswoman, Jaime Riley, informed the Arbiter.
Starbucks employees themselves are not allowed to comment on the issue.
“We will not put our partners in the uncomfortable position of enforcing this request, but we are being clear that weapons are not welcome in our stores,” Riley said.
According to a recent survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 66 percent of Americans support Starbucks’ decision.
“Seems fair to me,” said Hope Baird, a freshman at Boise State studying teaching. “The thought of someone having a gun in a Starbucks, concealed or not, makes me a little uncomfortable. You never know what people are going to do with guns.”
According to Schultz’s open letter, Starbucks has been thrust unwillingly into the national gun debate.
In the past, pro gun activists convened on Starbucks locations across the country on what they called Starbucks Appreciation Days. These appreciation days were meant to show support for Starbucks’ tolerance of guns.
Starbucks’ request for customers to leave their guns at home is part of an attempt to dissociate itself from these appreciation days.
Boise State students stated that they do not think the gun debate should come to stores like Starbucks.
“I feel like there’s not much of a point in making a stand on this issue. The gun debate should be solved somewhere else, although obviously the government is not doing much to solve anything right now,” Baird said. “I don’t think Starbucks’ stance will affect the gun debate overall
The Quinnipiac University poll stated 72 percent of Americans indicated their likelihood of going to Starbucks is unaffected by Starbucks’ request.
Fifteen percent indicated that they were more likely to go to a Starbucks now, and 11 percent indicated they were less likely to.
“I’d be nervous if I saw a gun at a Starbucks, but it probably wouldn’t make me leave,” said Sammi Laflam, a sophomore photography major. “I think customers should definitely take Starbucks’ request into consideration, and not bring a gun into a Starbucks just to say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to listen
Laflam thinks bringing guns to a coffee shop may alarm customers and hurt business.
“Guns can be a safety hazard. If customers see a gun and won’t come to Starbucks any more, that is a concern for Starbucks. I think it’s a good thing that Starbucks makes a stand just so customers are aware of where they are on this. You don’t want it to be a situation where people assume that since Starbucks is not against it, they’re for it,” Laflam said.