Corporate CEOs Demand Gun Control in Letter to the Senate

In a letter to the U.S. Senate publicized on Thursday, 145 business executives and CEOs challenged lawmakers to pass universal background checks and implement “red flag” laws at the federal level.

“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 executives wrote. “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.

“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,” the letter continued.

Signatories included Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

In their letter, the executives emphasized the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, neither of which would have been prevented by the sorts of remedies they called for in their message to Congress.

Still, it is possible that Republicans, feeling political pressure from the left, will end up conceding at least something on this divisive topic. Several high-profile GOP lawmakers have come out in favor of the so-called “red flag” laws, which would permit law enforcement officials to confiscate firearms from an individual at the order of a judge. Skeptics have decried the lack of due process inherent in such laws, but as of now, they enjoy at least a modicum of bipartisan support.

As for background checks, Republicans may be willing to pass laws strengthening the speed and efficiency with which the NCIS works for gun sellers, but it is extremely unlikely that Democrats will be able to pass a law expanding those checks to private gun sales. That is what the House passed in February; it has yet to come up for a vote in the Senate.

In that bill (HR 8), Democrats sponsored a bill that would “establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties.”

“Specifically,” the bill continues, “it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.”

Critics say that legislation of this sort would turn ordinary gun owners into criminals and hand gun-grabbers a powerful tool with which to confiscate legal weaponry.

“Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable,” the business leaders wrote in their letter. “We need our lawmakers to support common-sense gun laws that could prevent tragedies like these.”

Except, of course, for the inconvenient fact that none of these “common sense gun laws” can or will do anything of the kind.  

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