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Cheesecake Factory and others warn of new risk: "Active shooter situations"

New details on accused El Paso shooter
  • Some U.S. companies are now citing the risk of mass shootings in their regulatory filings with the SEC.
  • In its annual earnings report, the Cheesecake Factory said the threat of "active-shooter situations" could affect business at the restaurant chain.
  • Other companies that have alluded to the danger of shootings in their filings include Dave & Busters, Del Taco Restaurants and Stratus Properties, owner of the W Austin hotel.

When publicly listed companies disclose risks for shareholders in their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, they typically cite mundane business factors such as labor costs and currency fluctuations. But a new threat is starting to appear in annual earnings reports: The danger of getting shot. 

The Cheesecake Factory and Dave & Buster's Entertainment are among the companies that now include the risk of "active shooters" affecting their operations. Corporations are required to flag possible hazards in order to provide investors with a frank assessment of potential downsides that could impact their business and stock price. Today, that means considering the potential financial impact of shootings.

"Any act of violence at or threatened against our restaurants or the centers in which they are located, including active-shooter situations and terrorist activities, may result in restricted access to our restaurants and/or restaurant closures in the short-term," the Cheesecake Factory said in its most recent annual report. Customers and staff also could choose to "avoid our restaurants" in the longer term following a shooting incident, the report said. 

Other companies that have warned of active shooters as a corporate risk include Del Taco Restaurants and Stratus Properties, the owner of the W Austin hotel and other properties, according to an analysis of corporate filings from Audit Analytics for CBS MoneyWatch. 

While many companies aren't highlighting this as a risk, those that are tend to be in the entertainment and restaurant industries.

"As [shootings] become more prevalent, the priority starts to increase," Paul Lannon, an attorney at Holland & Knight LLP, told The Wall Street Journal, which earlier reported on the trend.

Walmart didn't allude to active-shooter risks in its latest annual report. But it has provided active-shooter training via computers since 2015, according to The Associated Press. 

"No retailer is immune to a violent act," spokesman Randy Hargrove told CBS MoneyWatch after mass shootings at two of the retailer's stores in El Paso, Texas, and Southhaven, Mississippi, killed a total of 24 people. 

U.S. mourns after back-to-back mass shootings

In 2018, active shooters murdered 213 victims, according to FBI data. Through Aug. 5, there have been 255 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive -- that's more shootings than days in 2019 so far.

Another risk facing businesses these days is employee unrest due to safety and ethical concerns. Some Walmart employees are planning a walkout on Wednesday to protest the retailer's decision to continue selling firearms following the two mass shootings

"We are no longer willing to contribute our labor to a company that profits from the sale of deadly weapons," according to a petition for the walkout posted at Change.org. "Walmart remains one of the largest retailers of firearms in the United States, and there is a direct correlation between the number/availability of guns and the amount of mass shootings per capita."

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