The CEOs of more than 250 companies including Levi Strauss & Co., Dick’s Sporting Goods, Patagonia and Unilever have cosigned a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take immediate action to address what it called an “epidemic” of gun violence, following a series of high-profile mass shootings in recent weeks. The letter emphasized not just the human toll but also the “profound economic impact” of such disasters.
The June 9 letter from CEOs for Gun Safety, which was also signed by leaders at Bloomberg LP, Condé Nast, Lululemon Athletica, Lyft and Bain Capital, says that “the Senate must take urgent action to pass bold gun safety legislation as soon as possible in order to avoid more death and injury.” The news was first reported by Axios.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics were cited in the letter, which showed that over 110 people are gunned down and killed every day in America, and more than 200 are injured and shot each year. “Among the affected are our employees, our customers, and the communities we work in,” the letter noted. “Each death means another empty chair at the dinner table, another empty seat in the church pew or the classroom, another worker missing on the assembly line.”
This letter cited a report from Everytown that stated gun violence cost American taxpayers and American employers $280 billion per year. “Employers lose $1.4 million Everydayin revenue and productivity as well as the associated costs for victims of gun violence. Communities that experience gun violence struggle to attract investment, create jobs, and see economic growth.” It urged lawmakers to put aside partisan differences to pass “bold gun safety legislation” but stopped short of suggesting what such laws should entail.
It noted recent murders at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde in Texas, and Tops Market in Buffalo. The letter also mentioned 14 other mass shootings that occurred during the period of 10 days between these two highly-publicized incidents. “These shootings have destroyed families and communities, shaken our country and highlighted the lack of action from the US Senate,” the letter said.
In 2019, after the shootings in El Paso, West Texas and Dayton in Ohio, a similar letter signed by CEOs from 145 businesses, business leaders joined the gun control debate.. Although there were fewer signatories on that list, there were some more well-known names compared to this year, including Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Twitter co-founder and then-CEO Jack Dorsey, Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi and The Gap’s Art Peck. Arianna Huffington is the CEO and cofounder of Huffington Post.
Learn more The Political Figuring of CEOs
This time, the number of members has increased to show that CEOs are more willing to tackle politically sensitive issues. After the killing of George Floyd, police officers in 2020, several companies supported social justice. An American worker poll in June 2021 found that 82% of Americans believe their employers should address racial injustice and equity. But, only half were aware of whether or not their organizations had released a statement.
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