Poll: Most support a Starbucks gun ban

May 13, 2010, 2:56 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

Gun violence prevention groups say most people want Starbucks to ban guns in their coffee shops.

Fifty-six percent of the people surveyed favor a “no guns” policy at Starbucks, according to a national poll commissioned by Washington Ceasefire and The Brady Campaign. Of those, 42 percent say they are strongly in favor of a policy against guns.

“A significant percentage, I think the number was over one third, say they are less likely to go to Starbucks because of its policy,” says Ralph Fascitelli, president of the Washington Ceasefire board.

Starbucks defers to state laws for its policy regarding customers carrying weapons. In 43 states, including Washington, it is legal to carry a registered handgun. But Fascitelli says that doesn’t mean people like the law.

The survey, which will be released later today in downtown Seattle, found that 37 percent of people – and 47 percent of women – said they were less likely to go to Starbucks because they don’t feel safe knowing guns are allowed there.

Pro-anti-gun rally

AP photo from a pro- and anti-gun rally near Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Second Amendment rights supporters are suspicious of the poll. “You can practically get a poll to say anything,” says John Pierce, co-founder of the group Open Carry.

Pierce points out that Starbucks doesn’t make the laws regarding guns, states do, and Starbucks is smart to stay out of the issue.

“Basically what Starbucks is saying is ‘we bow to the states to define what is legal behavior and if you are in fact conforming to that legal behavior, then please come in, buy our products, help us make profits for our shareholders,'” says Pierce.

Fascitelli and Pierce disagree on most things, including who fired the first shot in the coffee gun battle.

Fascitelli says Open Carry members created the controversy by deliberately seeking out place where they could meet and flaunt their guns.

Pierce says this only became an issue after someone with a registered firearm walked into Bay Area coffee shop, and “once something happens in California it becomes a big deal.”

Not long after that, Peet’s Coffee & Tea company acted to ban guns. Pete’s policy is to “not allow customers carrying firearms in our stores or on our outdoor seating premises unless they are uniformed or identified law enforcement officers.”

Open Carry then became involved to defend citzens’ rights to legally carry guns. While Washington Ceasefire calls Open Carry “a bunch of extremists,” Pierce says Fascitelli’s group has a hidden agenda.

“They say they’re concerned about Gun violence, yet they’re really trying to restrict gun ownership of law abiding citizens,” says Pierce.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence turned over a petition to Starbucks in March that had about 26,000 signatures on it demanding the company “offer espresso shots, not gunshots” and declare its shops “gun-free zones.” That effort did not change the coffee company’s policy. Now anti-gun activists are hoping the national survey will have some influence on Starbucks.

Starbucks has tried to stay out of the crossfire. It issued a statement saying, “Advocacy groups from both sides of this issue have chosen to use Starbucks as a way to draw attention to their positions. As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners in the middle of this divisive issue.”

—-

Additional information about the poll of 600 registered voters, conducted April 26-28:

  • Fifty-two percent oppose allowing people in general, not just those connected to law enforcement, to carry loaded guns openly in public;
  • Fifty percent of voters feel less safe knowing that people not connected to law enforcement can carry guns in public, while 38 percent feel more safe.
  • A majority – 51 percent of those polled – said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who makes it easier for people to carry loaded guns in public, compared to 27 percent who were more likely to support such a candidate. Fully 63 percent of women said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who makes it easier to carry guns in public.
  • Women across all groups oppose open carry broadly – 76 percent of women of color, 68 percent of urban women and older women, 59 percent of suburban women 55 percent of younger women and a majority of rural women.
  • A similar majority – 56 percent of those polled – favor Starbucks and other retail establishments establishing strict “no guns” policies for their businesses – and far more gun owners support a “no guns” policy for Starbucks than believe Starbucks and other businesses should allow firearms on their premises.
  • When it comes to concealed weapons, 57 percent of respondents said they felt less safe knowing people can carry loaded, concealed guns in public. Fully 39 percent of respondents said they felt much less safe knowing that people may be carrying concealed, loaded weapons.

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Poll: Most support a Starbucks gun ban