Executives from many of the United States’s largest corporations and companies have signed a letter to the U.S. Senate urging the governing body to take legislative action on gun control.
The letter, obtained by the New York Times, cites the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso and West Texas, as well as instances of gun violence in cities such as Newport News, Va., Brooklyn and Chicago. The letter calls America’s gun violence epidemic “a public health crisis that demands urgent action” and specifically calls on the Senate (which has a Republican majority) to pass the bills that the House of Representatives (which has a Democratic majority) has already passed: stronger background checks and “red flag” laws.
According to the Times, Chip Bergh of Levi’s led the effort. Leaders from 145 other companies also signed the letter, including Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, HuffPost and Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck and Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack (who famously made headlines last year when the store announced it would no longer sell assault-style weapons).
Several advertising executives also added their names to the list: Havas Group CEO Yannick Bolloré; HorizonMedia president, CEO and founder Bill Koenigsberg; Omnicom CEO and chairman John Wren; Publicis CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun; and WPP CEO Mark Read.
“As leaders of some of America’s most respected companies and those with significant business interests in theUnited States, we are writing to you because 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 reads.
It continues: “We need our lawmakers to support common sense gun laws that could prevent tragedies like these. That’s why we urge the Senate to stand with the American public and take action on gun safety by passing a bill to require background checks on all gun sales and a strong Red Flag law that would allow courts to issue life-saving extreme risk protection orders.”
Many major American tech companies also added their names to the list, including Reddit’s Steve Huffman, Pinterest’s Ben Silbermann, Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Lyft’s Logan Green and John Zimmer. Notably absent from the list, however, are the country’s biggest tech giants: Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. Many of the country’s biggest financial institutions, such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, also did not sign.
Bergh told the Times that “to a certain extent, these CEOs are putting their businesses on the line here, given how politically charged this is.”
In recent weeks, many retailers have asked customers not to bring guns into their stores, including Walmart, Publix, Kroger and Walgreens. Walmart also announced it would stop carrying handgun ammunition in its stores.