Tag Archives: I Love Guns & Coffee

“I Love Guns & Coffee” Morale Challenge Coin

At Starbucks
At Starbucks

Demonstrating the transcendence of challenge coins beyond the military, since 2012 pro-gun enthusiasts have been coming together in venues not previously associated with supporters of the Second Amendment. Among the enthusiasts is Mr. Ed Levine, a Virginian resident, executive member of the Virginia Defense League, and founder of the Virginia Open Carry organization who has been participating in “Gun Owners Support Starbucks Day” held each February 22nd. Mr. Levine has been an avid organizer and supporter of regional firearms issues for the last 10 years and shooting for over 40.

To help promote his position of the Second Amendment, and advance the social discussion of gun rights and safety in Virginia, Mr. Levine recently began minting and presenting his own “I Love Guns & Coffee” challenge coin to those he meets at the Starbucks gatherings. The morale challenge coin is his variation of the iconic Starbucks coffee logo and shows support for the coffee maker and gun rights.

“Gun Owners Support Starbucks Day” began in 2012 as a grass-roots reaction to the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) proposal to a “Brew not Bullets” boycott following the coffee maker’s refusal to ban the lawful carry of weapons by patrons in their stores. Going back to even 2010 when Starbucks came under fire from anti-gun groups, such as the Brady Campaign and later the NGVAC, representatives like Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence stated,

The Evolution of the Starbucks logo
The Evolution of the Starbucks logo

“We don’t think Starbucks customers or the public in general should have to deal with people who are obviously not uniformed police officers carrying loaded, open-carry guns in public.” [1]

However, Starbucks refused to budge and in a public statement wrote

“In the end, we [Starbucks] determined that following local laws is the best approach for us.  Were we to adopt a policy different from local laws allowing open carry, we would be forced to require our partners to ask law abiding customers to leave our stores”. [2] Starbucks Spokesman Zack Hutson further added, “Our longstanding position is to comply with local laws in the communities we serve. We think that’s the right way to ensure a safe environment for our partners,” meaning both their employees and customers. [3]

"I Love Guns & Coffee" Coins
“I Love Guns & Coffee” Coins

In response, the pro-gun community moved immediately to reciprocate their gratitude. Initially in 2010 organizations like Lightfighter.net and OP Tactical began to produce patches of a similar offshoot to the Starbucks logo. [4] By 2012 when NGVAC called for the boycott, the “Gun Owners Support Starbucks Day” came into its full right organizing and drawing attention to the rights of the individual to maintain firearms and other Second Amendment issues. Thus on each February 22nd (2/22) those supporting Starbucks’ decision (like Mr. Levine) meet at their local coffee venue, some choosing to carry their firearms in accordance to their State’s laws, and purchase their coffee using $2 bills.



"I Love Guns and Coffee" Coin - Obverse
“I Love Guns and Coffee” Coin – Obverse

A spin-off of the Starbucks logo, Mr. Levine chose to add his own character into his “I Love Guns & Coffee” morale challenge coin.  Centered on the Obverse is the traditional Ancient Greek “Siren” (or in later European cultures referred to as a “Mermaid”) in white against an all black background, only now rather than bearing twin fishtails she bears two pistols. Textual influence has also been taken from the iconic “I love NYC” prints wherein “love” is represented by a red heart. Written against the Obverse’s outer band of green, the top half reads “I Love Guns” (again with “love” represented by a red heart) in white text while “& Coffee” completes the slogan along the bottom.





"I Love Guns and Coffee" Coin - Reverse
“I Love Guns and Coffee” Coin – Reverse

The Reverse of the “I Love Guns & Coffee” morale challenge coin incorporate Mr. Levine’s personal view and efforts to support the 2nd Amendment. Centered against a field of safety orange is written the trademark “Guns Save Lives” in black text. This statement correlates to the thousands of documented instances where an individual’s life was saved or crime stopped simply because the victim owned a lawful firearm, according to database analytics from SAF.org, CCRKBA.org and many others. Surrounding this orange field is a black band in which polished text reads, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. This statement is taken directly from the Second Amendment of the US Constitution and has been hotly debated in its intent and scope by State and Federal lawmakers for some time. While the meaning of those words continues to stir contention, those whom support gun rights, and Starbucks decision, will continue to meet each February 22nd for a round of coffee.


Works Cited

1. Feeney, Nolan. Gun Owners Support Starbucks Day’ Mixes Coffee and Second Amendment Rights. February 22, 2013. http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/02/22/gun-owners-support-starbucks-day-mixes-coffee-and-second-amendment-rights/ (accessed March 10, 2013).

2. Berman, Mark. Anti-Gun Group Begins “Brew Not Bullets” Starbucks Boycott. February 14, 2012. http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/guns/anti-gun-group-begins-brew-not-bullets-starbucks-boycott# (accessed March 5, 2013).

3. Jackman, Tom. Today is ‘Gun Owners Support Starbucks Day,’ for Virginians who openly carry guns in public. February 22, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/today…public/2013/02/22/a82d25c8-7c6d-11e2-a044-676856536b40_blog.html (accessed February 23, 2013).

4. Black, Bryan. Support the 2nd Amendment and Stick it to the National Gun Victims Action Council this Valentine’s Day. February 3, 2012. http://www.itstactical.com/centcom/news/support-the-2nd-amendment-an…-it-to-the-national-gun-victims-action-council-this-valentines-day/ (accessed March 8 2013).

5. Hallowell, Billy. Is Starbucks Gun Friendly? Advocates Launch Support Starbucks’ Day (Here’s Why). February 22, 2013. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/22/is-starbucks-gun-friendly-advocates-launch-support-starbucks-day-heres-why/# (accessed March 14, 2013).