Worried about nonexistent shootings, activists pressure Starbucks to ban guns

Robby Soave | Reporter

When was the last mass shooting at a Starbucks?

July 7, 1997. It was an attempted robbery, and three unarmed employees were killed.

Still, persuading the national coffee chain to convert all branches into gun-free zones is a top priority of the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has called for a boycott of Starbucks this Saturday.

The company’s corporate policy allows customers to bring guns into stores in the 43 states where concealed carry is legal. For this reason, pro-gun activists occasionally hold rallies at Starbucks, where their Second Amendment rights are respected.

But supporters of gun control say no coffee drinker is safe if there could be guns around.

“Many moms are unaware that if they take their children to Starbucks, their children may be standing next to a customer who has a loaded weapon,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms, in a statement.

The group’s website clarifies that it views the accidental discharge of firearms as the paramount concern that a ban would address.

“We are as concerned about second-hand bullets as we are about second-hand smoke,” said the website — likely referring to a recent incident at a Florida Starbucks where a woman’s gun went off after it fell out of her purse, injuring one man’s leg.

Making Starbucks a gun-free zone is the only logical solution, said a spokesperson for the group.

“We are asking Starbucks to exercise its right to adopt a gun-free policy in its stores,” said Kim Russell, national director of outreach for Moms, in a statement.

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