The president of a local gun advocacy organization is fuming over a new Starbucks policy that asks patrons to leave their firearms behind when they enter its stores.
“I think that it’s a matter of entrapment,” Tom King, the head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, told YNN’s Capital Tonight.
“What happens if by chance you’re in the store and you have a pistol with you and a cop comes in and sees the pistol or he’s questioning you about something and you tell him you have a pistol?” he asked.
The ubiquitous coffee chain has drawn both praise and scorn since announcing Wednesday that it would prefer customers not carry firearms inside its stores, even if they are legally allowed to do so under local law.
Starbucks has said it will not post signs announcing its new policy and that baristas will not be tasked with asking gun-toting patrons to leave. But Mr. King argued the rules could be interpreted differently by law enforcement.
“If that [Starbucks's policy] is interpreted by police, in whatever jurisdiction it’s in, as a demand that you don’t come in, then you are in violation of the law. Because almost every state that I’m aware of has a law that says, ‘If you own a piece of property and you want to ban firearms from it [you can],'” Mr. King explained.
The policy announcement comes the same week as the mass shooting in Washington D.C., but Starbucks has said the policy was not a reaction to any current events. In the past, guns-rights activists have staged high-profile meetings at Starbucks and gun-control advocates have urged customers to boycott the company.
Mr. King said the move was also an easy way for Starbucks to net some publicity.
“Is Starbucks playing both sides against the middle on this?” he asked. “I think it’s more of a marketing ploy than anything else.”