On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN anchor Ali Velshi unexpectedly supported Starbucks' decision to stand by its policy of letting gun-owning customers openly-carry their weapons in states where it is legal to do so. Despite hinting he didn't see the need for guns in coffee shops, Velshi stated it was "better for businesses not to weigh into this unwinnable debate."
The anchor weighed in on the Starbucks controversy during a commentary at the end of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Velshi didn't mention that it was specifically the Brady Campaign for Prevent Gun Violence that was pushing for the company to turn its coffeehouses into "gun-free zones," as reported by the AP on Thursday. He only stated that "gun control advocates want Starbucks to take a stand." The CNN anchor also omitted that in its statement on the controversy, Starbucks requested that "all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue."
VELSHI: This one has me puzzled. If you walk into your local Starbucks and you see someone packing heat, are you walking out? A lot of people wouldn't. In fact, a matter of fact, a lot of people are making a point of walking into Starbucks carrying guns in states where it is legal to do so in public. Now, that sparked protests from gun control advocates and kudos from pro-gun groups.
Here's my question: do you really need a gun at Starbucks? Should you really mix your caffeine with bullets? That aside, Starbucks says its stores simply follow state laws and it is legal to carry weapons in 43 states. But businesses still have the right to prohibit customers from carrying guns inside, and gun control advocates want Starbucks to take a stand. Why? I think it's better for businesses not to weigh into this unwinnable debate. Are we going to see a checkerboard of businesses saying, yes, bring your gun in; no, you can't bring guns in?
Let's face it: taking a stand either way would invite more protesters than customers, and inviting more people to try and prove some point, rather than people trying to buy your product. And isn't it better to save the steam for the lattes and not get your customer steamed? Let's all have a grand- grande dose of tolerance.
Velshi telling gun control advocates to be tolerant? You might not suspect that kind of stance from him, given that he labeled Senator Jim Bunning an "embarrassment" earlier in the week on March 1, and celebrated the one year anniversary of the Obama stimulus with a cake on February 17.