In Washington state, it is legal for persons with concealed weapon permits to carry handguns openly. Businesses still have the right to bar gun owners from carrying on their property. But gun enthusiasts are starting to get pushy, and are testing the limits of some businesses. Now Peet's Coffee & Tea is banning guns, but Seattle's hometown coffee company—Starbucks—is stepping away from the controversy:
Coffee chain Starbucks says it's sticking to its policy of letting customers carry guns where it's legal and is asking not to be put in the middle of a larger gun-control debate. The statement stems from recent incidents when gun owners have walked into Starbucks and other businesses to test state open-carry gun laws. Gun control advocates have protested. Starbucks is asking both sides "to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue."
Washington Ceasefire, our state's gun control outfit, wrote a letter to Starbucks detailing their concerns. Among them was a reference to the four cops killed in Lakewood late last year:
Sadly the recent tragedy in a Lakewood, Washington coffee shop illustrates that guns do not protect people if one is intent on doing harm. If four brave, highly trained, police officers carrying firearms couldn’t hold off one individual, what chance does one average citizen have in defending himself in a moment of crisis.
What an odd argument. Law-abiding civilians aren't allowed to defend themselves because, on one occasion, four police officers were unable to defend themselves when attacked at a coffee shop. Should the threshold be set that high, considering how severely troubled Maurice Clemmons is now known to have been?
Washington Ceasefire's Ralph Fascitelli says that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry at Starbucks "destroys the tranquility" of these "societal sanctuaries." When I compile a list of things that distract me at Starbucks, average-looking guys with handguns are far down the list, below "loud cell phone talkers" and just above "freelance blog writers monopolizing the only table next to an outlet." In short; it's not such a big deal.