WASHINGTON (CN) — The heads of nearly 150 U.S. businesses have called on the Senate to take action on gun safety, urging them to expand background checks and strengthen regulations, in a Thursday letter to the Senate.
“Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more wounded. These are more than mass shootings. In recent weeks, gun violence has devastated Chicago, Canoga Park, Newport News, Gilroy and Brooklyn among others. This is a public health crisis that demands urgent action,” the executives from major, midsize and smaller companies said in the letter. Signing the letter were executives from banks, retailers, tech companies, clothiers, medical companies, food companies and travel firms, including Lyft, Conde Nast, Levi Strauss, Twitter, Reddit, Airbnb, and Royal Caribbean — 149 in all.
In addition to expanded background checks, the letter asks lawmakers to enact red-flag laws, which would bar people with a history of violence from buying a gun.
“Background checks and extreme risk laws, also referred to as ‘red flag laws’ are proven to save lives. Since Congress established the background check system 25 years ago, background checks have blocked more than 3.5 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers, including convicted felons, domestic abusers and people who have been voluntarily committed,” the letter states.
Legislation has not caught up with the way people buy guns today, the executives say. The letter, published in the New York Times on Thursday, includes endorsements from Thrive Capital and Bain Capital. Thrive was founded by Joshua Kutner, brother of Jared Kutner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
Bain Capital, a private equity firm, was co-founded by Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.
The gesture by the executives comes at a time when the majority of Americans appear to support more stringent gun safety laws.
In a PBS/Marist poll released Tuesday, more than 80% of Americans support increased mental health funding and more rigorous background checks for gun show and private sales. More than 70% support the creation of new federally enforced red flag laws, and just as many Americans surveyed support licensing requirements before purchase of a gun.
In another poll released this week from Suffolk University, the support for tougher gun safety laws came in at a whopping 90%. In a Monmouth University poll, the appetite for more restrictions was also evident. Where Americans appear to differ, however, is on the role gun buyback programs could play.
According to Monmouth, while 56% of the public support banning sales of assault weapons, 38% oppose a mandatory buyback program of any privately owned assault weapons.
“The Senate must follow the House’s lead by passing bipartisan legislation that would update the background checks laws, helping to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, in an effort to save lives,” the executives wrote.
A trio of gun bills were debated during a House Judiciary Committee hearing this week: H.R. 1236, commonly referred to as the “red flag” bill; H.R. 2708, the Disarm Hate Act; and H.R. 1186, the Keep Americans Safe Act. The bills are expected come to a vote in the House within a month.