Dick’s Sporting Goods, Toms and 140-Plus Company Leaders Call for Tougher Gun Laws

Business leaders at 145 American companies have banded together in an effort to persuade the U.S. government to take action on gun violence.

The chiefs, chairmen and founders of big-name corporations, including Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie and Gap CEO Art Peck, penned a letter to members of the Senate, calling for new gun-safety laws in the aftermath of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that have taken place over the course of a month.

“These families became members of a club that no one wants to join: the millions of Americans whose lives have been forever altered by gun violence,” read the letter, dated Sept. 12. “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. 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 plea included a request to the Senate to implement stricter “red flag” laws that would “allow courts to issue life-saving extreme risk protection orders.” Signatories also sought the passing of bipartisan legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales in the U.S. According to a new PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist poll, 83% of Americans support a law that would make it mandatory to undergo background checks for private and gun show sales.

“Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable,” the letter said. “These proposals are common sense, bipartisan and widely supported by the American public.”

Many corporations today have been forced to reckon with the issue of gun violence, which has once again been pushed into the national spotlight following the deaths of 32 people in the El Paso and Dayton massacres.

Walmart — which was not among the signatories — made headlines early this month when it announced sweeping changes to its gun policy in response to the shootings in its own stores. The El Paso store incident came just a few days after another shooting at one of Walmart’s Mississippi locations, where a suspended employee killed two co-workers.

For Dick’s Sporting Goods, more than a year and a half has passed since it began the process of destroying assault-style rifles it once sold in its stores — two weeks after last February’s slayings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The Coraopolis, Pa.-based company also raised the age restriction to 21 for purchases of firearms and ammunition as well as taking down items that resemble assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys.

Toms was instrumental in the passing of the H.R. 8 bill, also known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which the House of Representatives passed on Feb. 27. After the Thousand Oaks, Calif., mass shooting last November, Mycoskie had pledged $5 million toward organizations committed to gun safety and joined advocates in a countrywide tour as part of its End Gun Violence Together campaign.

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