The leaders of 145 companies on Thursday urged the U.S. Senate to require expanded background checks on gun sales and enact other laws aimed at preventing gun violence.
In a letter to the Senate, the top executives of the companies said a gun violence epidemic in the country is now affecting their businesses and needs to be addressed.
“We have a responsibility and obligation to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers and all Americans in the communities we serve across the country,” the letter said. “Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety.”
High Profile Signers
The signers included several CEOs of relatively new companies, many based in California, and several staked to the online or tech economies, such as Logan Green and John Zimmer, co-founders of Lyft Inc (NASDAQ: LYFT); Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER); and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).
But the effort was spurred by the head of an old company, Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE: LEVI), who said positions on gun issues that may have previously been political, have become practical.
“C.E.O.s are wired to take action on things that are going to impact their business and gun violence is impacting everybody’s business now,” Bergh told the New York Times.
And while the heads of many of the nation’s largest companies are absent from the list of signers, the effort follows an earlier letter from the CEO of the nation’s largest retailer, Doug McMillon of Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT), who weighed in on the issue recently, urging debate about reauthorizing the assault-weapons ban and restarting research on gun violence.
The group that sent Thursday’s letter urged the Republican-controlled Senate to act on measures already under consideration in the Democrat-controlled House, including one that could create “Red Flag” laws aimed at preventing some people considered dangerous from having guns.
Also among the signers were the heads of two politically prominent companies: Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Republican U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney and Thrive Capital, founded by Joshua Kushner, the brother of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
Walmart moved earlier this month to try to make it harder for some people to buy certain kinds of gun and ammunition following a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas Walmart that left 22 people dead. Walmart and other stores have also asked customers not to openly carry guns on their premises.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, didn’t immediately comment on the letter, but has said in the past he only is likely to let the Senate take up gun legislation that would be signed by Trump.
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