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CEOs of 145 of America's biggest companies send letter to senators urging gun legislation

The letter, signed by the chief executives of Uber, Levi Strauss & Co., Twitter and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., among other companies, calls firearm violence "a public health crisis that demands urgent action."
Image: National Rifle Association Foundation Annual Meeting
A worker sets up a display of handguns on the floor of the exhibition hall ahead of the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 25, 2019.Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — A group of 145 CEOs from some of the largest companies in America have sent a letter to senators demanding they pass stronger gun control laws, calling firearm violence "a public health crisis that demands urgent action."

The letter, signed by the chief executives of Uber, Levi Strauss & Co., Twitter and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., among other companies, urges Congress to expand background checks and "red flag" laws, legislation that would enable law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

"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. 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 letter, dated Thursday and first reported by The New York Times, said.

"Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable. There are steps Congress can, and must, take to prevent and reduce gun violence. We need our lawmakers to support commonsense gun laws that could prevent tragedies like these," it continued.

The letter comes a day after Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., advocated for stricter background checks during a phone call with President Donald Trump and his staffers.

Trump is slated to be briefed Thursday on potential gun control measures and may make a decision shortly after about what bills he would support, an administration official said.

Senators on Wednesday’s call with Trump said they were encouraged by the conversation.

"I want to be clear, the president did not make a commitment to support any particular bill or any particular thing, but he did strongly convey an interest in doing something meaningful, and something that we would be able to embrace and that could pass," Toomey told reporters on Wednesday.

The letter follows a spate of recent mass shootings across the country, including massacres in El Paso and west Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

The CEOs called on the Republican-controlled Senate to follow the House of Representatives' lead in passing a measure updating the background check system that Congress established 25 years ago. The bill, passed in the Democratic-controlled House in February, would require federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers.

The letter was also signed by CEOs from Airbnb, Gap Inc., and social network Nextdoor but was missing other notable large tech companies, including Facebook and Google.

It comes a little over a week after another business waded into the gun control debate: On Sept. 3, Walmart announced it would no longer sell ammunition used in high-capacity magazines and military-style weapons and asked its customers not to openly carry weapons in stores, even in states where it is permitted.

That announcement came after last month's El Paso shooting, which killed 22 people at a Walmart and nearby shopping mall.

Frank Thorp V reported from Washington, Elizabeth Chuck reported from New York.