By: Teresa Mull
Levi Strauss’s CEO and President Chip Bergh announced this week the iconic American denim company will be teaming up with activists to promote gun control.
Bergh wrote in an article for Fortune Magazine:
As president and CEO of a values-driven company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom, I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously. We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.
That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention. You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple. Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us—all generations and all walks of life.
Bergh reminded readers that in November 2016, he “wrote an open letter requesting that gun owners not bring firearms into our stores, offices, or facilities, even in states where it’s permitted by law.”
Bergh said his initial anti-gun stance was prompted by “an incident in one of our stores in which a customer accidentally shot and injured himself while trying on a pair of jeans.
“While that was bad, it could have been worse: The bullet could have killed him, another customer, or one of our employees,” Bergh wrote.
“On an average day, 96 Americans are killed by guns, and hundreds more are wounded,” he goes on. “Most are suicides or unintentional shootings. Our nation’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average rate of other high-income countries. Some shootings make the headlines; some you never hear of; but each one is a tragedy.”
Bergh fails to note what John Lott recently reported in The New York Post, that, “Of the 86 countries where we have identified mass public shootings, the U.S. ranks 56th per capita in its rate of attacks and 61st in mass public shooting murder rate. Norway, Finland, Switzerland, and Russia all have at least 45 percent higher rates of murder from mass public shootings than the United States.”
Bergh’s op-ed also conveniently ignores statistics that show more firearms are used in self-defense than in crimes, 98 percent of crimes happen in gun-free zones, and higher rates of gun ownership is correlated with lower rates of crime.
Nevertheless, Bergh declares Levi has established the Safer Tomorrow Fund, “which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants from Levi Strauss & Co. over the next four years to fuel the work of nonprofits and youth activists who are working to end gun violence in America,” and has partnered with Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to advocate for increased gun control.
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Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.