If you drop by Starbucks for a latte on August 9, don’t forget to bring your gun

Depending on your stance on guns rights and gun violence, you may make a point to drop by your nearest Starbucks on August 9–or you may run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

Gun rights advocates want to show their appreciation for Starbucks and their friendly attitude toward loaded gun-toting patrons. On August 9, they’ll be holding rallies celebrating Starbucks’ policy of allowing guns in their stores in the 43 states which allow open carry. So far, according to the Facebook event page, 2,500 people have said they’ll go to their local Starbucks and bring their gun along.

The website Guns Saves Lives says,

Starbucks is not “pro gun”, but rather neutral on the subject. This is really all we can ask as gun owners and carriers of any private business. So, in opposition to the boycott and to show support for a company which respects the Constitution and state laws, gun owners are encouraged to spend money with Starbucks on August 9, 2013 to show your support and offset any boycotts.

The boycott it refers to is a campaign by Moms Demand Action for Guns Sense in America. Starbucks, they say, has “banned smoking to protect the health of their customers, even in areas where smoking would be legal, so why won’t they ban guns?”

In an editorial, the organization’s founder Shannon Watts and chapter head Kate Beck write, “When it comes to responsible gun policy, Starbucks has lost its moral compass. As mothers, we wonder why the company is willing to put children and families in so much danger. Nobody needs to be armed to get a cup of coffee.”

Recent gun injuries and near-misses at Starbucks stores so far haven’t motivated the company to change its policy, which hasn’t been updated since March 2010. Incidents include a Florida woman’s gun firing accidentally in her purse when she set it down, wounding her companion in the leg. A similar incident occurred in 2011 in a Wyoming Starbucks when a .38 went off in a girl’s purse. A man was also shot in the leg in Houston just outside a Starbucks.

While Guns Saves Lives describes Starbucks’ policy as neutral, it is far from such. Private property and business owners are not required to allow guns on the premises. Starbucks and other businesses are well within their rights to ask gun-toting patrons to leave or remove their firearms.

For its part, Starbucks is pretending to be above it all: “Advocacy groups from both sides of this issue have chosen to use Starbucks as a way to draw attention to their positions.” In that whiny statement, they’re purposefully overlooking two things: ferocious battles over the 2nd Amendment have been going on for years, and almost 7,000 people have been killed by guns just since the Sandyhook shooting in December.

Not asking customers to check their firearms at the door is a political statement. Starbucks also refuses to acknowledge that it’s placing its customers and employees at risk by allowing guns on the premises. Starbucks can’t hide behind a mealy-mouth corporate policy drafted three years ago.

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