The chief executives of 145 major U.S. companies are sending Senate leaders a letter on Thursday urging them to pass new laws expanding background checks to all gun purchases and enacting stronger “red flag” laws, according to The New York Times, which saw a draft of the letter. The House has already passed similar bills, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he won’t allow votes on them unless President Trump explicitly backs them. “Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,” the business leaders write.
The CEOs who signed the letter lead companies including Levi Strauss, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, the Gap, Airbnb, Brookfield Property Group, Royal Caribbean, Pinterest, and two financial companies with possibly relevant ties: Thrive Capital, founded by Joshua Kushner, Jared Kushner’s brother; and Bain Capital, cofounded by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
Many of the companies that did not sign — including Apple, Facebook, Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — had robust debate, opting not to because of concerns about current scrutiny by congressional Republicans or out of fear that gun fanatics would accost their employees, the Times reports. Walmart wrote its own letter to Congress a week ago, urging debate on a new assault weapons ban.
“To a certain extent, these CEOs are putting their businesses on the line here, given how politically charged this is,” Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh told the Times. The “tide is turning” in public opinion, and “business leaders are not afraid to get engaged now,” added Blergh, who helped organize the letter. “CEOs are wired to take action on things that are going to impact their business and gun violence is impacting everybody’s business now.” Peter Weber