Elliot Fineman, CEO of the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGAC) announced last Monday that its members will boycott Starbucks starting on St. Valentine’s Day to protest the company’s resistance to demands that they cease serving customers who may be carrying weapons, open or concealed. Its purpose, according to Fineman, is “to eliminate the risk of guns in public places and ultimately to bring sane gun laws to the U.S.” Fineman claims that his group is “a network of 14 million gun victims” and that his boycott is being supported by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the United Church of Christ, the Fellowship of Reconciliation along with other secular groups that also support the anti-gun movement. Fineman said:
Starbucks allowing guns to be carried in thousands of their stores significantly increases everyone’s risk of being a victim of gun violence. Open and concealed carry are among the reasons there are 12,000 gun homicides each year in the U.S. If we had England’s gun laws we would expect 375 gun homicides each year—97% less than we have. England’s gun laws are based on protecting public safety, ours on maximizing sales for the gun industry…
Our boycott will reduce Starbucks’ stock price by an amount no rational company would allow.
It was two years ago that the Brady Campaign launched a similar boycott of Starbucks that “failed miserably” according to Dave Stockman, senior editor of Gun Week. Noted Stockman: “Starbucks made it plain in 2010…that it [would] abide by local and state laws and [would] not discriminate against a certain class of customers. Many open carry advocates began patronizing Starbucks…as a show of support.”
Stockman asked NGAC rhetorically just how many incidents have there been in the history of Starbucks, which opened its first coffee house in 1971, involving a legally-armed citizen that resulted in criminal violence? Answer: not a single one.
Perhaps a better question would be: how many customers spend time and money at Starbucks either because they support open carry or because they simply don’t mind “rubbing elbows with legally-armed citizens?” as Workman suggests. And just how much of an impact will NGAC’s boycott have on Starbucks’ bottom line?
By clicking here the reader can see for himself how Starbucks’ stock price has been impacted by previous boycotts by anti-gun groups. In nearly a straight line, Starbucks’ stock (SBUX) has moved from $8 a share in December of 2008 to $48 a share currently, with nary a hesitation even during the beginning of the Great Recession, and certainly none visible due to boycotts that were predicted to “reduce [it] by an amount no rational company would allow.”
On Thursday Starbucks announced that its profit climbed 10 percent in the quarter ending on January 1st on revenue that increased 16 percent over the last twelve months. And the company further announced it would open 800 new stores in the next twelve months, making its biggest expansion since 2008.
A suggestion that appears to be gaining traction among lovers of liberty and the Second Amendment is to make a special effort to spend a little time and a little money on a latte at a local Starbucks with the Valentine of their choice on Tuesday, February 14th to support their stand. As Mike Crenshaw wrote on the forum TheHighRoad.org:
I’ve just heard that there’s a planned boycott on Feb. 14 by anti-Second Amendment groups attempting to punish Starbucks for their decision to follow state and local law instead of changing company policy on law abiding customers carrying firearms legally. While I’m an occasional customer I’ll make a point of doing my share to offset any business Starbucks may lose due to this proposed boycott. I’ll see to it that my family and I are in Starbucks at least once on Feb. 14. Thank you for not caving in to the radical beliefs of a small vocal group of marginalized extremists.
Massad Ayoob, a well-known writer and supporter of the Second Amendment, agrees: “This Valentine’s Day I’m gonna drive my sweetie the twenty-something miles to the nearest Starbucks and scarf up a Yuppie coffee, or a hot chocolate, or a boutique muffin, or whatever. It’s about showing solidarity with an entity that stood up against an attack on our freedoms. And [I’m] sending a positive email to Starbucks…”