Valentines and Guns

Next Tuesday is Valentine's Day. I don't know that I can put any sort of security-related significance on that, other than to say that those of you working long hours at the security office or installing video systems better remember to get your sweetie something special. But wait, there is actually a security aspect to this year's Valentine's day. It turns out that Starbucks Corporation is going to face a boycott because the company has decided to accept state laws.

If that sounds ridiculous, it's probably because it is. The National Gun Victims' Action Council (NGVAC) is saying it's going to boycott Starbucks on Tuesday because Starbucks accepts state laws regarding guns. The way it works is that states make laws about carrying of weapons. Some states allow concealed carry with permits. Some allow open carry. Some require special considerations for open carry. Some don't allow it at all. Starbucks has said before that it will ascribe to state law in terms of accepting gun carrying in its retail locations. So, if a state allows public carry of weapons (Tennessee is one such state), then you'd be able to walk into Starbucks with your gun carried openly and it would be within the rights. First, the state would have allowed it. Second, you have your right to carry (or maybe you don't if you're a felon). And third, Starbucks has chosen not to try and override state law.

Some retailers, however, have chosen to make their retail security policies on guns tougher than state laws. As the Christian Science Monitor wrote in March 2010, "in California ... it's legal for residents to display unloaded weapons without a permit", but some food retailers (namely Peet's Coffee and Tea and California Pizza Kitchen) have decided to ban weapons on their premises.

This became a corporate security issue when protests happened at some Starbucks locations with the anti-gun groups protesting that the pro-gun groups had the right to openly carry at Starbucks, and that some such gun owners were doing so. In fact, some would intentionally show up carrying at Starbucks simply to exercise their right. The reality is that it's a corporate security and business operator's decision to allow guns or disallow them, and corporate security policies have to consider whether gun owners and anti-gun protesters will use your site to make a point.