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Guns and Coffee

March 5, 2010

Yesterday, I saw an interesting news story about how Starbucks is being drawn into the great American debate about guns and gun control.

Now, I do favor some gun control. For example, I think there should be some background checks on people before they can purchase firearms. I mean, if you're crazy - like that guy who shot those people at Virginia Tech, you shouldn't be allowed to own a gun. Similarly, if someone's on the terrorist watch list or has been convicted of a crime involving a firearm or a violent crime, then maybe they shouldn't be allowed to purchase a gun. When to do these background checks? Maybe during a waiting period. I know some people hate the waiting period, and I think maybe a way to solve that is a National "Do Not Sell" list - we have it for the telemarketers and the airlines, so how about having a database of people who shouldn't be allowed to buy guns? Gun sellers could reference the database at the time of sale, and if you're name is on the list, you can't purchase.

And I hear you, "But Mike, what if they just get a friend to buy it for them or use a fake ID?" No system would be 100%, I understand that, but there are a lot of people out there that this would stop. Hey, some controls are better than NO controls, right? I mean, I don't want a crazy person or some al Qaeda follower to be able to walk into a store, purchase a gun, and shoot up some place hours later.

Anyway, back to the point of this rant, you know, if the state law says they can do something, why not let them do it? As for whether to ban guns or not, I believe that it's the rights of the actual shop owner to determine.

It's the like the smoking bans. I'm a big believer in civil liberties, and I don't believe the government should be the one to tell an owner that they have to ban smoking. If a restaurant wants to ban smoking to appeal to non-smokers, they should have that right. Similarly, if a restaurant wants to allow smoking at the risk of driving away non-smokers, they have that right as well. We, as the public, can vote with our dollars to support those restaurants that cater to our whims, whether it be smoking or non-smoking.

I believe the same with Starbucks. Each individual franchise owner should be the one to determine if they are going to allow firearms or not (assuming state laws say they can do that).

And with unemployment high and the economy low, don't we have more important things to worry about than whether or not we can walk into a coffee shop with our 9-mm strapped to our waist?