“Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,” reads a letter from the heads of 145 companies that was sent to Senate leaders Thursday.
The letter’s signers are calling for the Senate to act on gun control, urging them to pass a background check bill on firearm purchases and implement stronger “red flag” laws. The signers include CEOs from a number of the biggest companies in the country, such as Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, and Levi Strauss.
“Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable,” the letter continues. “We need our lawmakers to support common-sense gun laws that could prevent tragedies like these.”
The laws to which the letter refers have already been introduced by the Democrat-led House of Representatives, but have yet to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. The House approved these laws earlier this year, which would require background checks for all firearm sales, not just when sold by a federally licensed dealer. In other words, the law would close a loophole that currently permits private dealers or individuals to sell guns without conducting a background check.
The red flag law, meanwhile, would allow federal courts to issue temporary orders preventing individuals who have previously exhibited warning signs, or red flags, from purchasing or accessing a firearm.
Noting that these laws are “proven to save lives,” the signers add that the proposed legislation is “bipartisan” and a “common-sense solution with overwhelming public support.” They go on to call it a “critical step toward stemming the gun violence epidemic in this country."
“It is time for the Senate to take action,” the letter concludes.
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll corroborates their letter. The poll found that 86% of Americans support implementing red flag laws, regardless of party or demographics. Eighty-nine percent of those polled expressed support for expanding federal background checks.
While 145 business leaders signed the bill—including Jared Kushner’s brother Joshua Kushner, and Steve Pagliuca, the co-chairmen of Bain Capital, which was founded by Sen. Mitt Romney—a number of prominent American businesses chose not to participate. Representatives from Apple, Facebook, and Google did not sign the letter, as well as a number of banks, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.
Walmart also declined to sign the letter. Last week, however, the retailer announced that it would no longer sell ammunition used in high-capacity magazines and military-style weapons and requested that shoppers not openly carry firearms in its stores. Other retailers joined Walmart in discouraging open carry in their stories, including Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, and Wegmans. Walmart also wrote its own letter to Congress, calling for a debate over reauthorizing an assault weapons ban.
President Trump, for his part, has largely failed to take a firm stance on these laws. While he tweeted in early August, “We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain” and called for stronger background checks, he later told reporters that the U.S. has “very, very strong background checks right now.”
He is reportedly going to be briefed Thursday on possible gun control measures and could “make a decision shortly after about what bills he would support.”
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