Anyone who has tried to run a business understands that it’s not a role for stupid people. It’s hard and requires a broad base of knowledge, as well as an understanding of your limitations. After all, if you think you can do something only to be wrong, the results could be catastrophic for the business.
But that doesn’t mean people who are smart are smart in every aspect of their thinking.
For example, some corporate CEOs seem to think universal background checks are a good idea.
The House is slated to vote Wednesday on a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales — including those that occur online or at gun shows. On Monday, a group of four CEOs sent a letter urging Congress to pass the proposal.
Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, supports causes like access to clean water and eye care in poor countries. But embracing something as controversial as gun control is different. He says his board of directors debated whether he should engage on a political issue unrelated to their business.
“Everyone was very concerned about us doing something like this,” he says. “But ultimately we recognized that this is an opportunity for us to really be a leader in business and to show our customers that we are engaged in the issues that matter most to them.”
He, along with the CEOs of Levi Strauss, Dick’s Sporting Goods and RXR Realty signed the letter calling on the House to pass stricter background checks on gun purchasers.
They wrote: “… we are writing to you because 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. …
“Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable. There are steps Congress can, and must, take to prevent and reduce gun violence.”
Mycoskie says about 12 percent of his customers say they won’t buy his company’s shoes anymore as a result of his stance on guns. But he says today’s CEOs need to accept that some customers will leave, but those who remain will be more loyal.
“Yeah, we lost some customers by doing this, but I think we also strengthened our relationship in a way that was far greater than whatever we lost,” Mycoskie says.
Well, in fairness, I suspect most gun people weren’t wearing TOMS anyway.
Levi Strauss, I suspect, was hurt far worse.
It doesn’t matter, though. These are companies whose products will only enter my home if worn by a guest. Even then, I’d rather they didn’t, but I won’t try to dictate the conscience of another.
However, they are deluded if they think this will somehow reduce violence.
For one, we know that criminals tend to buy their guns on the black market. We also know that other homicides are perpetrated not by hardened criminals but by people who pass background checks to get their firearms. They’ve never done anything wrong, so there’s no reason to believe they should be barred from owning one.
So why will this do more than make it difficult to transfer a firearm for law-abiding citizens?
And let’s say a potential school shooter can’t get a gun. Do these people think the rage that propels these incidents will subside? People like the Parkland shooter weren’t going to take up football or Mixed Martial Arts and vent their aggression. They’ll find some other way to vent it.
It’s not like explosives are all that hard to learn about, now are they?
The problem with this approach, besides the infringement on the Second Amendment, is that it ignores the root causes of the violence in the first place. I promise you, the Parkland killer was going to be a killer. If he hadn’t shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he’d have found another way to take a life.
But gun control ignores that. It pretends the tool is the problem, not the tool using it.
And these CEOs, people who are supposed to be smart (at least in theory), are advocating for some very dumb things.