Not his cup of latte

Starbucks' corporate headquarters in Seattle.
Starbucks' corporate headquarters in Seattle.

It has come to this: Howard Schultz, the chief executive officer of Starbucks, the most well-known coffee shop chain in America, has had to ask Americans not to bring their firearms into the company’s stores, even when “open carry” laws in some states allow it.

In an open letter that was courteous to the point of groveling, Mr. Schultz explained that the company’s long-standing approach to “open carry” — laws that allow carrying a firearm in public — has been to follow local laws: “We permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist.”

But then this: “Recently, however, we’ve seen the ‘open carry’ debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening.” He complained that pro-gun activists have been using Starbucks for media events promoting open carry.

“To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores,” he wrote. “Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in jacking up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.”

So much for civility in the nation’s gun debate. Mr. Schultz’s letter is a respectful request, not a ban. But it is also an implicit indictment of our gun-crazed culture in a week when Americans were disturbed by another mass shooting.