Gun Advocates Have Started Descending on Starbucks En Masse for Some Reason

There's an interesting showdown that involves a volatile combination: gun advocates, upset moms and caffeine.

This past weekend the Sioux Falls Business Journal reported on a South Dakota Open Carry march that meandered along some quiet city streets before taking a break at a Starbucks, which was the pre-selected rendezvous point for the 60 or so gun-toting civilians.

Unlike in Texas, where we have a concealed handgun law, other states allow citizens to openly carry guns. To demonstrate that right, open-carry advocates have recently taken to the streets, guns out, to show they are responsible, peaceful gun owners.

Jesse Rierson with the South Dakota group told Peter Harriman of the Sioux Falls Business Journal that the march to Starbucks was "purposeful, since the corporation permits armed individuals in its stores in states where carrying firearms openly is legal."

Reirson went on to say that he checked with both Starbucks' national headquarters and the local manager before promoting the event, a claim the company refutes. Danny Cowan with Starbucks' global communication says they "never granted approval."

Asked if they would grant approval for future open carry events, Cowan punted: "I can't speak to that."

It's been a long-standing policy of the company to allow customers to carry guns where local laws permit them to do so. But having entire groups of up to 60 people meeting at the coffee shop could incite a new level of anxiety for bleary-eyed and hopped-up patrons alike.

Among the advocates sipping lattes was State Rep. Manny Steele (R-Sioux Falls), who had, according to the article, a "Glock 9 mm handgun in a holster over his right hip." Steele told the paper his participation was based on a gradual erosion of personal rights at the national level.

Other marchers at Starbucks carried semi-automatic rifles on slings. Some pushed strollers with babies.

The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America released a statement: "It is time for Starbucks to walk the talk as a company that claims to be committed to corporate responsibility, and to take the safety of our children and families as seriously as mothers do."

The moms group also reported that they are aware of another event at a Starbucks at 1st and Pike in Seattle today, July 31.

We asked Cowan if he knew of the meeting in Seattle. He again declined to comment and said as a company they follow state laws regarding guns.

We asked Cowan that if he did hypothetically know of an open carry advocate march or meeting taking place inside one of their stores, if Starbucks would be inclined to let other customers know about the cache of weapons that would soon arrive. Cowan said: "I can't speak to that."

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