On Valentine's Day, the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) called for an ongoing boycott of the Starbucks coffee chain because of their company policy allowing individuals to bring loaded guns into their stores. The President and CEO of NGVAC is Elliot Fineman, whose son Michael was murdered in 2006 by a paranoid schizophrenic who legally obtained a gun. Fineman says that Starbucks is "[betraying] their claim to be a socially responsible company" by implementing a policy that follows state gun laws, even where they are weak and involve little or no screening of gun carriers. Currently, 28 states allow residents to Open Carry loaded guns in public without any permitting, screening or training requirement. There are also four states (Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming and Arizona) that allow residents to Concealed Carry loaded guns in public without any screening, training or permitting. All of these states also allow "private sales" of firearms, which do not require any background check. Individuals bringing loaded guns into Starbucks in these states could be felons, wife beaters, sex offenders, severely mentally ill, etc., and law enforcement would have no way of telling if they are dangerous until they pull the trigger.
Despite these problems, pro-gun activists were outraged when they heard about the NGVAC boycott and quickly announced a "buycott" of their own. Here is what the "buycott" called for, as described by the "Guns for Everyone" blog:
First, make sure to visit Starbucks on February 14th and carry proudly. Even if you don’t carry, or don’t OC [Open Carry], let them know that you appreciate their policy. But seriously, just man up and carry that heater like a BOSS. Stop being a pussy.
Pro-gun activists then began to flock to the Starbucks Facebook page to tell of their gun-carrying exploits, post photos of their handguns and assault rifles, and attack all those who disagree with the company's policy concerning firearms. This led to some truly ugly rhetoric, some of which is chronicled here:
There was pro-gun activist Joe Amber Barrett of Leesburg, Florida, who told one woman "FOAD [Fuck Off And Die] you dirty hippy" when she announced that she was boycotting Starbucks:
Pro-gun activist Josh Sumpter invoked the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre to justify Starbucks' current firearms policy. When CSGV Director of Communications Ladd Everitt pointed out that both the Virgina Tech Review Panel and the families of the victims and survivors of that tragedy are unanimous in their support for stronger gun laws, Sumpter said, "that just proves that the VT review panel and the families [of the 32 students/faculty killed and 25 wounded during the massacre] are okay with the tragedy happening again." Pro-gun activist Jonathan Kiviniemi of New Albany, Indiana thought this was wonderful and jumped in to echo Sumpter, adding, "they are essentially saying they want it to happen again."
There was a bizarre comment from insurrectionist gun blogger Kurt Hofmann, who thanked Starbucks for "refusing to be conscripted into the anti-gun jihadists' culture war."
Another woman, who posted a "No Guns in Starbucks" photo, was called a "twat" by pro-gun activist Andy Rau.
Pro-gun activist Shay Robertson thanked Starbucks for "having a backbone" and said, "Not everyone in America is a snivelling developmentally disabled functioning retard who is afraid of inanimate objects." Pro-gunner Jeff Adamson loved it and commented, "Please don't insult snivelling developmentally disabled functioning retards by comparing them to anti-gunners."
Other commenters were labelled "faggots" and "homos" by pro-gun activists Adler Smith and Eric Fanning of Oregon City, Oregon.
One pro-gun activist, James Sarah, had a warning for children. He told a commenter, "Keep your children out of Starbucks. I go in to enjoy a cup of coffee and read a paper. It is very disturbing to have some snot nosed little brats running around and making all sorts of noise. My hand gun has never made a peep in Starbucks."
Pro-gun activist Ray Brower of Loveland, Colorado posted a photo of his AR-15 assault weapon and wanted everyone to know it was his "anti-socialist freedom rifle. And he was certainly not the only pro-gun activist to share gun porn on the Starbucks Facebook page. Their photos wall is covered with it. Here are some examples:
You've got to give Starbucks executives some credit, though. Their store policy might be OK for us, but they personally want no part of these guys when they're armed. "They surely know the threat to safety people carrying guns pose," says Reverend Jackie Lynn, Executive Director of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. "Why else would Starbucks ban guns from its corporate headquarters, Starbucks shareholder meetings and have a company policy forbidding employees (partners) from bringing guns to work?"