Special to The UpTake by Linda Winsor
Starbucks finally woke up and smelled the coffee!
The giant coffee chain announced late Tuesday that it will no longer allow the open carrying of guns in its properties, banning the display of guns — even legally licensed weapons — both inside its restaurants and in outdoor seating areas.
The St. Paul Starbucks on Grand Avenue near Lexington Parkway was one of many “battlegrounds” in the nation-wide fight by Moms Demand Action and other gun-safety groups to get Starbucks to reverse its policy of welcoming gun-toting members of the gun lobby to openly wear their weapons in the 11,000 U.S. stores of the giant chain, which normally supports progressive social causes — such as gun safety.
Let this proud Mom be perfectly clear: The moms won over the guns!
The Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action staged a “stroller jam” against guns at Starbucks in front of the Grand Avenue store on Sept. 7, gaining no media attention but making an important political and moral point: Customers who just want to enjoy Starbucks products should not feel they have to run a gantlet of guns when they take their children into Starbucks for a coffee or a hot chocolate. No one took us seriously but we are as serious as the problem of gun violence and we won’t give up just because the gun lobby controls many politicians and spends millions to influence public policy on this issue. We have something they don’t: We have the moms on our side!
For the past several months, Moms Demand Action members have been calling on Starbucks to eliminate guns from its stores. More than 60,000 Americans signed our petition asking them to change their weapons policy.
Families from around the Twin Cities participated on Sept. 7 and their voices resonated locally and around the country. From the youngest voices of small children to the eldest voices of grandparents, we were simply asking Starbucks to provide a safe and comfortable environment for their customers.
Today, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz respectfully requested that “customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.” And, he said, “Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people… our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.”
Moms couldn’t agree more! We thank and congratulate Starbucks for making the decision to take the safety of our children and families as seriously as we do.
Jane Kay, chapter lead of Minnesota Moms Demand Action, is proud that Minnesota members played a role in Starbucks’ change on the gun policies in their stores. “Just a week and half after we held our stroller jam in front of the Starbucks on Grand Avenue, Starbucks has agreed that guns + coffee make no sense. Moms are about changing hearts and minds around the conversation of guns in our communities, and we are clearly making a difference.”
Linda Winsor, of St. Paul, is Communications Lead & Member/Volunteer Coordinator at Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. For more information on Moms Demand Action, visit the group’s Facebook Page or visit the Moms Demand Actionweb site. The group’s Twitter address is @MomsDemand.