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Quite possibly the dumbest controversy EVER...on both sides...


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Politics and retail a no-win mix

By GREG BLUESTEIN

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Guns. Religion. Abortion. These are the no-win arguments that spoil family gatherings — and the stuff of retailers' nightmares.

Starbucks has found itself in the middle of just such an argument as its stores became forums for demonstrations by both pro-gun and gun-control advocates. All for a firearm policy that hasn't changed and is the same as most retailers': follow the local law. If it's legal to carry a firearm in town, it's allowed in the stores.

In recent months, the "open-carry" arm of the gun-rights movement, which advocates that gun owners carry visible weapons as they go about their daily business, have been exercising their rights. They've been proudly displaying their sidearms in public places, sometimes meeting up in groups.

Starbucks' association with a politically liberal, "latte sipper" ethos, made it a tempting target for gun-control advocates. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence attracted more than 26,000 signatures demanding that Starbucks "offer espresso shots, not gunshots."

Starbucks' response? It reiterated its policy of following state and local laws and politely asked everyone to leave it out of the debate.

It's frightful territory for a business, which risks alienating customers and losing sales by taking sides on such emotional debates.

"They want you to like them. They don't want to be red brands or blue brands," said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates in New York. "Generally, Starbucks wants to be socially responsible and not take stands on divisive issues. Clearly they're being pulled in here because people want to use them to do that."

Starbucks' situation is unusual in that it became a symbol of a debate not of its own making. But other companies have dealt with politically fraught situations where they risk alienating customers no matter what they do.

This holiday season, the Christian group American Family Association urged a boycott of retailers, including The Gap and Old Navy, for not using the word "Christmas" in their holiday advertising. But other customers resent focusing on the Christian holiday.

Marketing experts say standing firm was probably the best option Starbucks had.

Charles R. Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova School of Business, said changing its position would diminish the company's reputation and alienate people on the opposite side of the debate.

Some businesses are taking a stand, even if it costs them customers. California Pizza Kitchen and Peet's Coffee&Tea banned customers with guns after open-carry advocates started showing up earlier this year. So has Great American Restaurants, a chain of 10 restaurants and a bakery in northern Virginia.

The company's CEO, Randy Norton, said he decided to ban gun owners from carrying weapons when they planned large gatherings at his chain.

"I'm just not interested in having large groups of gun owners coming in and making a point," he said. "The gun people got enraged and they have made a point of boycotting us, but we haven't felt any economic effect from this."

Such a stance carries risks, though the effects on business are hard to pinpoint. Some who feel passionately about an issue might decide to take their business elsewhere, but those on the other side might give a company more business.

"It's too early to see the real impact right now, but this will have an effect," said Fred Taub, an Ohio consumer advocate who is a consultant to companies on boycotts.

"TheHollywood view is any PR is good. But from a business standpoint, this is a no-win," he said.

Starbucks is hardly unique in following state and local laws that allow weapons to be carried openly, which is legal in 43 states.

Most large retailers, among them Target Corp., Home Depot Inc. and Best Buy Inc., say they follow state and local laws. The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., didn't respond to queries, but open-carry advocates also count it among those that don't restrict patrons from openly carrying weapons.

Such policies are "pretty much the majority rule" among large retailers, said John Pierce, the co-founder of OpenCarry.org, a gun rights advocacy group.

Jim Snyder, a 59-year-old retired military member in northern Virginia now goes out of his way to visit Starbucks to show his support for its stance. He's not even a coffee drinker, but sips hot chocolate while wearing a 9 mm handgun strapped to his belt.

"Quite frankly, if I saw a sign up there and it said no guns, I wouldn't go in there, even if I wasn't carrying," said Snyder, who has been carrying his weapon in stores and restaurants for about 15 years. "And there's a lot of gun owners who feel that way."

Snyder's opposites in the gun control debate are using the situation as a rallying cry to garner more support.

Abby Spangler, founder of ProtestEasyGuns.com, asked her supporters to urge Starbucks to declare its stores gun-free zones.

"We just want to drink our coffee and have our children eat their scones in peace," she said.

Matt Wood, 44, a Seattle resident taking a break at a Starbucks in San Francisco's Financial District, sees both sides of the argument but thinks the demonstrations are getting too much attention.

"I mean, who carries a gun into a coffee shop?"

___

Bluestein reported from Atlanta. AP Business Writers Laura Impellizzeri in San Francisco and Mae Anderson in New York also contributed.

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Dumb on the part of pro-gun people: it is offensive, unnecessary and tactically unsound to carry an exposed weapon in public.

Dumb on the part of the anti-gun people: it is safer for you if some wingnut is carrying openly in public, because if a bad guy decides to shoot someone, they're shooting him first.

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Dumb on the part of pro-gun people: it is offensive, unnecessary and tactically unsound to carry an exposed weapon in public.

Dumb on the part of the anti-gun people: it is safer for you if some wingnut is carrying openly in public, because if a bad guy decides to shoot someone, they're shooting him first.

The most ignorant post you have made.

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I think it should be left up to the businesses.

Well, in most states it is.

But frankly, if I want to carry a gun into a business, I've yet to let a sign stop me from doing so. Then again, I don't go advertising to criminals that I am a good candidate to be the first person shot, so it's a bit hard to tell when I am carrying.

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I grew up around guns and I have no hate at all for guns at all, but I think that 90% of the people that make a big deal about carrying in public have an unnatural obsession with guns that at times borders on a mental disorder.

I don't have a real problem if someone wants to conceal carry (although I also don't have a problem with a business or person inside a business not being ok with it), but what are the chances of someone going into a starbucks in a nice area and randomly opening fire on people they don't know? Sure, a fair amount might get robbed, but I'd rather take a trip to the DMV, call my credit card companies, and lose the 5 dollars in my wallet rather than killing some guy that robbed me.

It's an unhealthy paranoia for lots of these people. Especially because crime rates have been steadily declining over the years, contrary to what they believe.

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I grew up around guns and I have no hate at all for guns at all, but I think that 90% of the people that make a big deal about carrying in public have an unnatural obsession with guns that at times borders on a mental disorder.

I don't have a real problem if someone wants to conceal carry (although I also don't have a problem with a business or person inside a business not being ok with it), but what are the chances of someone going into a starbucks in a nice area and randomly opening fire on people they don't know? Sure, a fair amount might get robbed, but I'd rather take a trip to the DMV, call my credit card companies, and lose the 5 dollars in my wallet rather than killing some guy that robbed me.

It's an unhealthy paranoia for lots of these people. Especially because crime rates have been steadily declining over the years, contrary to what they believe.

X2. B)

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I grew up around guns and I have no hate at all for guns at all, but I think that 90% of the people that make a big deal about carrying in public have an unnatural obsession with guns that at times borders on a mental disorder.

I don't have a real problem if someone wants to conceal carry (although I also don't have a problem with a business or person inside a business not being ok with it), but what are the chances of someone going into a starbucks in a nice area and randomly opening fire on people they don't know? Sure, a fair amount might get robbed, but I'd rather take a trip to the DMV, call my credit card companies, and lose the 5 dollars in my wallet rather than killing some guy that robbed me.

It's an unhealthy paranoia for lots of these people. Especially because crime rates have been steadily declining over the years, contrary to what they believe.

The only part I dispute is "90%." I do think there are an unhealthy number of people who view guns as a panacea for all society's ills. I think that carrying a firearm to protect yourself while eating french fries and weighing 75 pounds over your ideal weight and being a lazy sack is a pretty skewed sense of self preservation.

But having said that, I also know that if I AM in a public place and a shooting takes place, I hope there's a good guy with a gun who is trained to use it around. If it's not me, I hope it's someone. I take my family's protection seriously. I don't carry all the time, but I have the capability of being armed when I feel the need, and I have carried around all 3 of my kids (and none of them knew daddy had a gun, either).

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Dumb on the part of pro-gun people: it is offensive, unnecessary and tactically unsound to carry an exposed weapon in public.

Dumb on the part of the anti-gun people: it is safer for you if some wingnut is carrying openly in public, because if a bad guy decides to shoot someone, they're shooting him first.

Completely disagree with your first point. A rather cliche and I would suggest sounding almost uninformed opinion being expressed that gives no foundation to rest on. People openly displaying a gun would deter violence and crime against not only that person but that vicinity as well. Imagine how many less hold ups at quicky stores would take place if they saw the clerks and patrons openly displaying handguns. Imagine how many less muggings and rapings would take place if criminals saw the intended victim was openly armed.

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The only part I dispute is "90%." I do think there are an unhealthy number of people who view guns as a panacea for all society's ills. I think that carrying a firearm to protect yourself while eating french fries and weighing 75 pounds over your ideal weight and being a lazy sack is a pretty skewed sense of self preservation.

But having said that, I also know that if I AM in a public place and a shooting takes place, I hope there's a good guy with a gun who is trained to use it around. If it's not me, I hope it's someone. I take my family's protection seriously. I don't carry all the time, but I have the capability of being armed when I feel the need, and I have carried around all 3 of my kids (and none of them knew daddy had a gun, either).

I'd hope there's a competent person with a gun as well.

On the flip side, I know a guy with a concealed carry permit that carries around a loaded gun (with a bullet chambered of course) with no safety that he just puts in a little leather case and sticks down his pants. I'd put the chances of that going off and hitting someone way higher than someone randomly coming in and shooting me (a crime that, despite what people believe, is INCREDIBLY rare in the scope of all the crimes committed daily). Of course as a side note one of these days he's going to forget the chambered round when he and his friends have their daily gun circle jerk and take someone's head off, but I digress.

Do I really trust that farmer Cleatus from rural GA is going to be a competent gun owner rather than an idiot like my friend? Nope.

Like I said, I have nothing against guns and if you're really a good gun owner I'd hope there would be one of you in the store I'm at, but I don't have any problem with people not liking the possibility that the gun owner might be farmer Cleatus or some roid raged idiot who uses a gun in place of his fists (in place of his mouth).

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Completely disagree with your first point. A rather cliche and I would suggest sounding almost uninformed opinion being expressed that gives no foundation to rest on. People openly displaying a gun would deter violence and crime against not only that person but that vicinity as well. Imagine how many less hold ups at quicky stores would take place if they saw the clerks and patrons openly displaying handguns. Imagine how many less muggings and rapings would take place if criminals saw the intended victim was openly armed.

Imagine you're a guy who wants to rob a liquor store or shoot up a mall full of people. Imagine you walk in and there's a guy with an openly carried gun.

Do you 1) pull off your ski mask, start shuffling your feet and whistling (or turn around and leave); or 2) shoot the guy with the gun first?

Sure, some criminals will go with option 1. Particularly those out to rob or steal. But someone who wants to kill people? He's going with option 2. Tactically unsound, and I back that up with some pretty significant firearms training.

Remember the guy that shot up the Capital building in D.C.? Remember who he shot first?

As for muggings or rapes, it MIGHT deter, but frankly, if you can get inside someone's reaction gap, they won't be able to get the gun out to use it in the first place. That's the value of carrying concealed -- YOU retain the element of surprise, and YOU are inside the bad guy's reaction gap. He doesn't know you're armed until it's too late for him to do anything about it.

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Imagine you're a guy who wants to rob a liquor store or shoot up a mall full of people. Imagine you walk in and there's a guy with an openly carried gun.

Do you 1) pull off your ski mask, start shuffling your feet and whistling (or turn around and leave); or 2) shoot the guy with the gun first?

Sure, some criminals will go with option 1. Particularly those out to rob or steal. But someone who wants to kill people? He's going with option 2. Tactically unsound, and I back that up with some pretty significant firearms training.

Remember the guy that shot up the Capital building in D.C.? Remember who he shot first?

As for muggings or rapes, it MIGHT deter, but frankly, if you can get inside someone's reaction gap, they won't be able to get the gun out to use it in the first place. That's the value of carrying concealed -- YOU retain the element of surprise, and YOU are inside the bad guy's reaction gap. He doesn't know you're armed until it's too late for him to do anything about it.

You just admitted it deters muggings, rapings and most armed criminal activity. The nutsos out there are going to be nutsos. Nothing can stop that. No one can stop that. But stopping a sizable portion of traditional street violence and armed robberies and rapings? C'mon! You and I both know it is worth that.

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Completely disagree with your first point. A rather cliche and I would suggest sounding almost uninformed opinion being expressed that gives no foundation to rest on. People openly displaying a gun would deter violence and crime against not only that person but that vicinity as well. Imagine how many less hold ups at quicky stores would take place if they saw the clerks and patrons openly displaying handguns. Imagine how many less muggings and rapings would take place if criminals saw the intended victim was openly armed.

This might just be me, but it feels wrong to have "uninformed opinion" and jdaveg in open comparison.

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FWIW, my brother is an assistant manager at a gun store/firing range in Columbus, and he and all the other employees wear guns at all times when they're on the job. He claims, and is probably right, that it's the safest place of business in Columbus. The gun store at least; the shooting range is another story - there were 2 suicides within a few years ago within a month of one another. Both guys managed to do it while an employee was not on the shooting range. I don't know what their policy is about an employee physically monitoring the range (they have cameras) since then, I'd have to ask.

I need to get a license, and would like to invest in a pistol for home security at least. I'm not sure about carrying them around, though I'm not opposed to the idea of carrying one in public if I'm traveling. I grew up around guns, but before I get a license and a handgun of my own, I'm going to train with my brother on the range at his insistence (and I think is a very good idea).

Do I believe in the right to own firearms? Absolutely. Do I believe in the right to carry? You betcha. However, like Jdave, these idiots carrying them for the SOLE reason of showing off or causing controversy make me very uneasy. Yes, they still have a right to protect themselves, and I'm sure they rationalize to themselves that that's the sole reason they carry. I have a feeling it's not the only reason some of them carry, and that makes me nervous.

If I ever do purchase a handgun, I don't want to have to use it for self defense, EVER. I have a sneaking suspicion lots of people would relish the opportunity. Don't know exactly what % of the gun-touting population that is, and I'm not going to make a sweeping generalization.

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You just admitted it deters muggings, rapings and most armed criminal activity. The nutsos out there are going to be nutsos. Nothing can stop that. No one can stop that. But stopping a sizable portion of traditional street violence and armed robberies and rapings? C'mon! You and I both know it is worth that.

Not if I'm the one with the target on my chest. If you want to carry openly because you think it deters street crime, feel free. I think the bad guy having to guess who is and who is not armed is a MUCH greater deterrent than allowing him to pick his victims out because you advertise in advance who is and is not armed. Concealed carry is a much greater deterrent than open carry, particularly for those who do NOT carry (which is the bulk of the populace).

And that ignores the point that it's still tactically unsound. There is just no way around that. One of the most significant advantages in a gunfight is the reaction gap. I want it in my favor. I'm not giving that up before the fight even starts if I can help it.

You say nothing can stop the nutsos, but you ignore that if you are inside the nutso's reaction gap, YOU can stop them. If they're inside yours, well, I hope your life insurance is paid up.

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I need to get a license, and would like to invest in a pistol for home security at least. I'm not sure about carrying them around, though I'm not opposed to the idea of carrying one in public if I'm traveling. I grew up around guns, but before I get a license and a handgun of my own, I'm going to train with my brother on the range at his insistence (and I think is a very good idea).

I'd recommend a good tactical pistol course (or, as I've done, several). Marksmanship is only one part of armed defense. Use of cover and concealment (and knowing the difference), shooting while moving, proper reloading technique, drawstroke, retention and a whole host of other things are WAY more important than marksmanship, IMHO. Take a good tactical pistol course, and even when you are unarmed you'll be safer than an untrained person who IS armed.

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You will note I said almost sounded not that it did sound. I've argued with and against Dave for years and we've never stooped to personal insults.

I agree with that, but I will address the foundation argument.

I've successfully completed FR&I Levels II and III, and I have successfully fired and passed (among MANY others) the following:

Air Marshals TPC

Georgia State Patrol TPC

FBI TPC

I'm pretty comfortable with my training and skill level.

What about yours?

Here's a video explaining one stage of the Air Marshal's TPC. My only criticism of the guy shooting it is he's going to shoot his pecker off one day carrying a pistol where he does :P :

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I'd recommend a good tactical pistol course (or, as I've done, several). Marksmanship is only one part of armed defense. Use of cover and concealment (and knowing the difference), shooting while moving, proper reloading technique, drawstroke, retention and a whole host of other things are WAY more important than marksmanship, IMHO. Take a good tactical pistol course, and even when you are unarmed you'll be safer than an untrained person who IS armed.

I'm not nearly as concerned with hitting someone who attacks me as I am for both my own safety and the safety of those around me if I ever make the decision to carry.

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