What Do McDonalds And Dunkin Donuts Have To Say About Carry In Their Stores?

Howard Schultz’s letter requesting that customers refrain from carrying their lawfully owned firearms in Starbucks hit a nerve last week. It not only unleashed a tsunami of criticism from gun owners but it caused a number of introspective posts from gun bloggers regarding open carry. The tactics of some open carry activists were especially subject to criticism.

 All of this controversy led to questions about Starbucks’s competitors and their policies. Business Insider, a business website, reached out to both McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts to find out their policies.

In essence, they will abide by the local and state laws where their stores are located.

Here’s a statement from McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb:

“We recognize that there is a lot of emotion and passion surrounding the issue of firearms and open carry weapons laws.

While we respect the differing views of all our customers, McDonald’s company-owned restaurants follow local, state and federal laws as it relates to open carry weapons in our restaurants.

For franchisee-owned restaurants, operational decisions regarding open carry weapon laws are made by the independent franchisee.

That said, as with all aspects of operating a McDonald’s restaurant, we expect our franchisees and their crew to follow local, state and federal laws.”

And Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman Michelle King:

“Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants are owned and operated by individual franchisees who are required to follow all federal, state and local laws with regard to firearms.”

While North Carolina has had open carry since 1921, I would hope that open carry activists would use some discretion. It is one thing to have a revolver or pistol on your hip; it is entirely another thing to carry an AR or shotgun on a sling. Let’s face it, when the average gun owner open carries, it is a handgun unless they are out in the woods.

If I Wanted Waffles, I’d Have Gone To Waffle House

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, released an open letter yesterday requesting that Starbucks’ customers no longer carry when they visit Starbucks. It is a waffling statement meant to appease the gun prohibitionists while at the same time trying not to offend the gun culture too much. As Neville Chamberlain would ruefully attest, appeasement is never a good policy.

Mr. Schultz should realize that appeasement is never a good policy when dealing with those who would seek to curtail civil rights.

Schultz’s statement is below:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.

We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.


Howard Schultz

I, for one, will “respect” Mr. Schultz’s request – I won’t carry, concealed or openly, in his stores. I will even go one step further and no longer patronize his stores or his products.

By the way, open carry has been legal in North Carolina without a permit since 1921. That is when the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled it was legal in State v. Kerner saying that the right to keep and bear arms under the North Carolina Constitution was “a sacred right”.

We Didn’t Skip Starbucks This Saturday!

In honor of “Skip Starbucks Saturday”, the Complementary Spouse and I treated ourselves to some nice coffee at our local Starbucks this afternoon. They weren’t busy when we got there but that soon changed.

Since the demanding Moms like to use handwritten messages so much, I decided to do the same as you can see below.

The Complementary Spouse went a step further and wore her Keep Calm and Carry t-shirt that we picked up at last year’s Gun Rights Policy Conference.

I, by the way, was pocket carrying my little Sig P238 in my cargo shorts. The Starbucks was not posted so everything was cool.

One of my favorite pictures of the day comes from Brandon Combs of the Firearms Policy Coalition who snapped a picture with the barista holding a “I Love Guns and Coffee” patch. He made it into a nice poster shown below.

I Know Where I’m Getting Coffee Tomorrow!

By now, you may have heard of the call by the gun prohibitionists to “Skip Starbucks Saturday” in response to the coffee chain’s determination to remain neutral in the gun debate and to allow carry in accordance with each state’s law. To those of the gun prohibitionists’ ilk, neutrality – while smart business – is an affront to their crusade to make everyone unsafe. While they would not consider a gun-free zone unsafe, those zones have become one of the favorite places for the mentally deranged to commit their heinous acts.

So, of course, I do plan to go to one of the local Starbucks on Saturday to have some nice frou-frou coffee drink that I might not otherwise buy. The Complementary Spouse has a couple of gift cards for Starbucks that we need to use and this seems like a good time to do it.

The good folks at Grass Roots North Carolina note that this is also an opportunity to reinforce the message that it is in all restaurants’ best interest to support the expanded carry provisions of HB 937.

No support is more clear than doing business with those who cooperate with us. We need to demonstrate, in a practical way, that standing behind North Carolina’s gun owners is a winning proposition for restaurants. Inducing failure of this anti-Second Amendment boycott will provide initial momentum for when HB 937 becomes effective in October.

Support Starbucks Saturday…

As you make weekend plans be sure to include a Saturday stop at your local Starbucks for a beverage and snack. Make sure to let your barrista know that you appreciate their respect for carry laws. Drive this message home by printing-out and handing your server the message below.

The alert isn’t up on their website yet so I’m posting their card below. I don’t know if other state-based gun rights groups are doing this but I’d suggest checking their websites for details.

This is certainly an easier way of the getting the message across than try to find a bank that has any $2 bills.

Jim Shepherd in The Shooting Wire also has some wise words about this counter campaign with which I tend to agree. I like his statement about it being a personal choice and not a political one.

I think a gun-neutral position is smart for the company, but it seems that some groups are determined to make guns a polarizing issue. That, I don’t like- no matter which side of an issue you fall on.

So….we may find it advantageous to show up at a Starbucks (or two) this weekend, order one of their innumerable combinations of coffee and simply say “I wanted to thank Starbucks for not taking a side in the gun debate. I think it is a personal choice, not a political one.”

Feel free to put that into your own words- but speak them if you have the opportunity.

I Can’t Believe CNBC Bought This Nonsense

Yesterday, Elliot Fineman of the Brady offshoot National Gun Victims (sic) Action Council was interviewed by Melissa Lee of CNBC. The interview centered on his group’s boycott of Starbucks due to their policy of neutrality on gun issues. Fineman said the boycott would be ongoing. Of course, no mention was made of the Valentine’s Day BUYcott by either Fineman or CNBC.

The story was presented in such a way as to give credence to Fineman’s claims that the boycott would impact Starbucks. When  pressed on how it would be determined that his group’s boycott was hurting Starbucks’ bottomline, Fineman said that they were using self-reported data from their supporters on how much they were not spending at Starbucks.

Excuse me but self-reported data from their “followers” is not exactly reliable data from which to make projections. Fineman then says that their Monte Carlo simulations show that 90% of the time their boycott will have “a significant impact on the Starbucks’ stock.” Having used Monte Carlo simulation with retirement planning for years, I understand the results you get are very dependent upon both the constraints and the input data. In other words, if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out and that is exactly what they are getting.

It is very hard to prove a negative unlike a positive. The results from the BUYcott can be shown by an increase in sales for February 14th. However, a decline in sales over time would be hard to attribute to just the boycott by Fineman’s group. There are many other factors like the state of the economy and competitors (like McDonalds) which come into play which are much more significant.

Fineman goes on to say that institutional investors who own 357 million shares of Starbucks’ stock should be able to make their own decision based upon his studies. However, they don’t plan to go to the institutional investors to pressure them to pressure Starbucks.

If Fineman is so confident in his projections, then he should have no problem presenting them to investors nor have a problem with pressuring these same institutional investors. I would speculate the reason he won’t be “pressuring” the institutional investors is because he knows he would be laughed out of the room.

Our BUYcott Visit To Starbucks

We thoroughly enjoyed our caramel macchiato and cinnamon dolce latte at Starbucks this afternoon. It was a nice treat for Valentine’s Day.

I stopped by the bank earlier today to get some $2 bills and made sure to leave the tip for the Starbucks’ barristas using a $2 bill obtained just for the BUYcott.

The other thing I did was send an email to the District Manager for the Starbucks in Western North Carolina. I explained why we went to Starbucks today and thanked her for the company’s policy of neutrality on gun issues. I also said we expected to partake of their fine coffees more frequently.

BUYcott Day

The Complementary Spouse and I intend to celebrate both Valentine’s Day and gun rights by meeting at Starbucks after work for a nice coffee drink as part of Starbucks Appreciation Day. I also plan to stop by the bank to get some $2 bills to leave in the tip jar.

Those calling for the boycott aren’t exactly happy that their attempt at publicity has been turned back on them. The National Gun Victims (sic) Action Council released a letter yesterday from a group of professional “peace activists.” They freely acknowledge that those of us who believe in our rights will be sipping our coffees, teas, and hot chocolates today at Starbucks and that we will be creating a bump in sales for Starbucks.

We also hope to say “thank you” soon for leadership on the legislative front¬–the kind of leadership you are exercising with respect to marriage equality. So far, your publicized rationale in defense of welcoming guns in your stores has (been) simple: you state that Starbucks is just following the law, state by state. That means that in 43 states you welcome openly carried guns and other firearms, while saying ‘yes’ to concealed carry in 49 states. But the law in all 50 states allows you to ban guns from your stores. Starbucks can do more than choose between competing laws. Starbucks can help change the law! Starbucks can use its corporate clout, in cooperation with others to challenge the powerful gun lobby, end the impasse in Washington that has blocked any meaningful gun violence prevention legislation in the 18 years since the Brady Bill was passed.

What they are having trouble comprehending is that support for marriage equality and gay rights doesn’t automatically correlate into support for gun control. Indeed, if they had looked at the plaintiffs in a number of important gun rights cases, they might have understood that many gay men and women have rejected being kept defenseless. That the right to self-defense and self-protection is a human right seems to have eluded the gun prohibitionists and the professional peace activist groups.