AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

The CEOs of dozens of businesses are demanding the Senate “do something” and approve legislation that would criminalize private transfers of firearms without background checks, as well as a bill that would give federal grant money to states to establish “red flag” laws.

There are some familiar names among the 145 executivies that have signed on to a letter to Senate leaders, including Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack and Levi Strauss CEO and president Chip Bergh, who’ve been outspoken in their support for gun control for some time. They’re joined by folks like Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, as well as the heads of Airbnb, Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Conde Nast publications, Door Dash, Reddit, Uber, Door Dash, and Pinterest.

Two notable names with connections to Washington, DC, have also signed the letter including Thrive Capital founder Joshua Kushner, according to the Times. He is the brother of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. And Steve Pagliuca, the co-chairmen of Bain Capital, which was founded by Senator Mitt Romney, also signed it.
But other well-known names are missing, including the CEOs from Apple, Google, Facebook and major banking firms that have cut ties with gun makers. For example, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon didn’t sign it. He has previously told CNN Business that government officials need to “try to improve the framework we all operate in,” because gun control is an issue that private businesses can’t fix.
In their letter, the CEOs write that “gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable” and calls on the Senate to “take action”. On background checks, the executives write that in the decades since the NICS system was first put in place,
“the law requiring background checks on gun sales has not been updated to reflect how people buy firearms today. The Senate must follow the House’s lead by passing bipartisan legislation that would update the background checks law, helping to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, in an effort to save lives. Background checks on all gun sales are a common-sense solution with overwhelming public support and are a critical step toward stemming the gun violence epidemic in this country.”
Studies have actually shown that “universal background checks” don’t work, or at least don’t lead to an increase in background checks or a decline in homicides or suicides. The key here is that they’re politically popular, at least until citizens get a chance to vote on them. Maine voters defeated a universal background check referendum in 2016, and Nevada’s universal background check law passed with just a 1% margin of victory that same year. As it turns out, when folks learn the details of these laws, their popularity declines dramatically.
On red flag laws, the CEOs claim that “expanding Extreme Risk laws to enable families and law enforcement nationwide to intervene when someone is at serious risk of hurting themselves or others is critical to preventing future tragedies.” The letter doesn’t acknowledge any of the concerns over due process, nor does it acknowledge that there are existing civil commitment laws already in place in every state that allow for family members and law enforcement to intervene when someone is a threat to themselves or others.
President Trump is expected to be briefed today on a variety of gun control measures, including both of the demands by the CEOs, but according to Sen. Pat Toomey, who’s been lobbying the president to support expanding background check requirements on private sales, Trump has so far not committed to any particular proposal.
Gun control groups like the Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety are pulling out all the stops at the moment, because they see this as their best chance in years to actually see new gun control legislation signed into law. They’ll continue to ramp up the pressure on the Senate to “do something”, and it’s absolutely critical that gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters also contact their senators to politely and civilly urge them to “do something” that works to address violent criminals, not restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens.