The gun possession debate is still raging on and the controversial subject continues to divide the country. Whether it is conceal and carry or open carry, no side seems willing to budge on the matter. Just as divided are state legislatures. While some are creating more regulations for gun ownership, other states continue to make it easier to carry guns in public.
The most recent, and polarizing, figure to weigh in on the subject is the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz, who recently stated that guns are no longer welcome in Starbucks cafés across the country. This applies to Starbucks in states regardless of carry laws.
However, while Schultz has asked that guns not be brought into the popular cafés, the request is not an outright ban. Patrons can still bring their guns into Starbucks, they’ve just been asked nicely not to.
While the gesture is nice, I think it is time for major restaurants and stores to take a stand against guns being brought into their stores. There would be some who would no doubt see this as an infringement on their rights, but people should be able to visit a business without having to see or worry about armed individuals. An outright ban on guns being carried into major businesses creates a safer and more pleasant experience for everyone who visits.
Surprisingly, only a few major corporations have made outright bans on guns in their stores. CVS Pharmacies and Chuck E. Cheese are some of the handful that have. Meanwhile, major chains such as McDonalds and Wal-Mart allow guns in states where guns are permitted.
Even if a state has open carry laws, corporations should take initiative and ban guns in their stores. Just because the state allows it doesn’t mean that all customers are comfortable with it. In fact, it could even be bad for business.
Not everyone wants to see a gun as soon as they walk into a McDonalds. Even if the gun owners are law abiding citizens, that doesn’t change the uneasiness someone may feel when they see a gun. This is especially worse when trying to bring children to a restaurant or store. If children see guns in these places, it can create the feeling that the place they are in is unsafe, causing them to be paranoid whenever they go out in public.
If a cashier sees a man walk into a store with a gun, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were immediately on edge. After all, there are enough stories about stores being robbed. Employees have enough to deal with on a daily basis that they shouldn’t have to worry about armed customers. Employees also run the greatest risk of getting hurt, as they are constantly exposed to an environment that welcomes guns.
Many of the problems that come from allowing guns in major businesses stem from the prevailing notion that guns are dangerous. They are, but if handled responsibly, they are considerably less dangerous. While many gun activists urge that more gun education should be provided that would erase these prevailing notions, the fact is it would be far easier if gun owners simply left their guns at home when they went out to eat.
People shouldn’t have to adapt to seeing guns whenever they go out in public. Due to the millions that visit their place of business every day, corporations need to take the next step and prevent guns on their property. It simply doesn’t make any sense that someone needs to bring a gun to Wal-Mart when buying groceries. Starbucks has moved in the right direction, but until it fully commits to banning guns, it is simply a gesture.