What to Know
- Leaders of 145 companies wrote a letter addressed to the Senate, asking for them to pass background checks and a strong Red Flag law
- The letter comes after Walmart stepped back from selling certain kinds of ammunition following two shootings at its stores
Leaders of 145 companies wrote a letter to the Senate Thursday, urging the governmental body to take action on gun safety.
The letter notes recent gun violence in Chicago, Newport News, Virginia and other places, calling it a “public health crisis.” But the leaders also say that gun violence is preventable, and lawmakers can step in to prevent tragedies.
“That’s why we 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,” they wrote in the letter.
Red Flag laws, which are also known as Extreme Risk laws, allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to prevent someone temporarily from obtaining firearms.
“These proposals are common-sense, bipartisan and widely supported by the American public. It is time for the Senate to take action,” the letter concludes.
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Edward Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, also signed the letter. The retailer stopped selling guns in 125 stores this year and stopped selling assault-style weapons after the Parkland shooting in 2018.
Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, had several signatories on the letter including John Connaughton and Jonathan Lavine, co-managing partners, and Josh Bekenstein and Steve Pagliuca, co-chairmen.
Thrive Capital’s Joshua Kushner, who is also the brother to White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, signed the letter as well. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter comes as companies have been forced to reckon with the risk that mass shootings pose to their businesses. Earlier in September, Walmart dramatically stepped back from ammunition sales following two shootings at its stores this summer. The biggest retailer in the world also asked customers at Walmart and Sam’s Club to no longer openly carry firearms, a move other retailers have since echoed.
Democrats have been pushing for universal background checks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Trump on Sunday demanding that he express support for the policy.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed legislation that would would strengthen federal background check laws. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he wants clear support from Trump in order for the Senate to vote on the measure.
“On a serious issue like this, after these horrendous shootings dominating the month of August, at least we could come back with a level of seriousness that underscored that maybe we would like to get an outcome,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “And so we do, in fact, await word from the White House about what the President is willing to sign.”
A spokesman for Schumer said that he would likely address the letter on the Senate floor Thursday.
News of the letter was first reported by the New York Times. Read the letter here.
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