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Ben & Jerry's pushes for gun control after mass shootings

Congress under pressure to pass gun bills
Pressure mounts on Congress to take action on gun control 05:50

Ben & Jerry's is calling on corporate America to stop financing politicians who oppose gun control measures supported by most Americans.

"It's time for companies and their trade associations to stop political contributions to elected officials who do the gun lobby's bidding, blocking common sense gun laws that nearly all Americans support," the Vermont ice cream maker said in response to recent mass shootings. "Our leaders are more responsive to the gun lobby than to the grieving families of countless victims." 

Those families are lighting up phones on Capitol Hill, according to Senator Chris Murphy, whose state of Connecticut endured the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Some Republicans in Congress are now more open to finding common ground on gun legislation, the Democratic negotiator told reporters Tuesday

Ben & Jerry's also called on its patrons to contact their representatives and urge their support for a ban on assault-style military weapons and high-capacity magazines. Long known for its political activism, Ben & Jerry's obtained a level of autonomy in agreeing to be acquired by the consumer goods conglomerate Unilever 20 years ago.

Unilever did not respond to a request for comment. 

Republican donors boost calls for congressional action on gun control 04:51

Ben & Jerry's, founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in the late 1970s, is not without its detractors for the company's activism. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis moved to bar his state from conducting business with parent company Unilever and its subsidiaries after Ben & Jerry's said it would no longer sell its ice cream in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. 

Only a handful of companies have publicly reacted to the recent shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a tweet last month that he hopes "we come together as a country and find a way to stop this kind of tragic violence." Echoing the sentiment, snack company Kind founder Daniel Lubetzky has called for "common-sense measures to protect our children and communities from gun violence."

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