Starbucks' 'no guns' plea triggers C.O. debate

Supporters, gun advocates discuss coffee chain's move

POSTED: 6:32 PM PDT September 18, 2013    UPDATED: 5:49 PM PDT September 19, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

On Wednesday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked customers not to bring guns into his company's coffee houses.

Schultz said he's not banning them, just suggesting people leave them out of the cafes as a sign of respect.

The company was pulled into the gun debate last month, when a group of gun owners announced plans online for a "Starbucks Appreciation Day," where gun advocates would gather at Starbucks stores with their firearms, making some customers uncomfortable.

Those who agree with the cafe's move say they hope other local businesses will adopt it. They argue, why not just keep the gun in the car before grabbing your morning latte?

"Let's keep the guns out of everywhere -- I think they made a smart move," said Bend resident Robyn Castano.

"They can leave 'em at home before they go into Starbucks, if you ask me," said another resident, Daniel Grant.

Gun advocates argue the move interferes with our rights and say they'll take their business elsewhere from now on.

"The Second Amendment of the Constitution clearly states we have the right to bear arms. I don't think we should change that, for any reason," said Ron Triement. "When our choices start getting torn away from us, this isn't America any more, as far as I'm concerned."

Just over 10,000 people in Deschutes County currently hold a concealed handgun license.

Oregon law allows people to openly carry guns, and many local businesses do not have policies banning firearms in their stores.

Louie Law, a local NRA instructor, said, "I felt like I needed a firearm because times are changing, even in a beautiful place like Bend."

Law owns a gun, but he says he believes as a private business, places like Starbucks have the right to ban firearms if they choose to.

"It's their business, it's their property, and I hate to think that we should deny them that right," Law said.

On the other hand, he thinks the issue has been blown out of proportion.

"I think it might be a bit of an overreaction to people who force the issue, by flaunting their firearms and the right to carry them," he said.

With recent mass shootings, Starbucks' announcement is just another challenge to how far the right to bear arms extends in a modern world.