Man Queuing In Starbucks With Assault Rifle Sparks Safety Debate

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 08 Aug 2019 12:53
man in starbucks with assault rifleSykesCharlie/Twitter

A photo of a man queuing in Starbucks with an assault rifle casually slung over his shoulder has resurfaced, sparking a debate around gun safety and laws.

The photo was reportedly taken in 2013, though it has come to light again in the wake of recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, which took place within hours of each other, and where 31 people died in total.


Naturally, while the individuals are held to account, a lot of people blame gun laws, and others blame pretty much everything else.

Some countries, New Zealand for example, reform gun laws almost immediately in the wake of a mass shooting.

On the other hand, in America – where 255 mass shootings have been recorded in 2019 alone – any changes to gun control laws are often held up in the Senate. Interesting, or unsurprisingly, according to Business Insider, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has received more than $1,200,000 in donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA).


While gun laws may or may not get changed any time soon, political commentator Charlie Sykes raised the question of what members of the public would do when faced with the sight of someone casually carrying an assault rifle in open carry states.

The 2013 photo shared by Sykes is as relevant as ever today. It appears to show a man with an assault rifle slung around his shoulder, as he waits in line at a local Starbucks.

As Sykes said:


Serious question: You walk into a business and see this —> do you

1. Leave
2. Feel Safer
3. Don’t Care

At the time of writing, Sykes’ tweet has had around 26,000 replies, which all vary between the three options.

One person replied:


If I walk into a business and see this.

1. Leave
2. Call the police and report that crazy looking people that are armed and might be up to no good.
2. Find new business that doesn’t allow this insanity.

While another said:

Feel safer.

No one is likely to be violent while he is present.

As for him being the danger — if a person is not acting strangely, they probably aren’t in fight-or-flight, seconds from homicidal mania. But you should definitely learn the carry laws in your state, too.


Others questioned the gun-carrier’s weapons training, and whether he’s even qualified to carry such a weapon:

If that person had any tactical weapon handling training there is zero chance he would be carrying that rifle in public, let alone in that manner. All firearm and weapon training begins with instilling respect and eradicating this type of clownish behavior.

Others questioned what police might do if they saw something like this:

Another said they already felt safe because they, too, were armed:

Which sparked another debate, as someone replied:

If you were actually safe would you need to be armed?

And a few more responses:

While this timeless meme became ever more relatable:

The debate continues.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Life, America, gun, Gun Control, Gun Laws, man, photo, Starbucks


Business Insider and 1 other
  1. Business Insider

    These are the members of Congress with the most NRA donations

  2. Charlie Sykes/Twitter