Chief executives at some of the nation's largest companies are urging federal lawmakers to pass stronger gun safety laws amid a recent outbreak of mass shootings across the U.S.
In a letter signed by more than 200 CEOs and sent to the U.S. Senate, business leaders referenced the recent massacres at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The letter, released Thursday, also noted 14 other shootings this year.
"All of this points to a clear need for action: the Senate must take urgent action to pass bold gun safety legislation as soon as possible in order to avoid more death and injury," CEOs said in the letter.
It's in the nation's best financial interest to pass tougher gun laws, the CEOs said, pointing to an Everytown for Gun Safety study that found U.S. taxpayers lose $280 billion every year to gun violence. Employers lose $1.4 million in everyday productivity, revenue and costs required to replace workers due to gun violence, the 2021 study found.
"Communities that experience gun violence struggle to attract investment, create jobs and see economic growth," the letter reads.
The CEOs of Ben & Jerry's, J.Crew, Lyft, NerdWallet and Poshmark have signed the letter. In it, they say America is in a "gun violence epidemic" and each person who dies amounts to "another empty chair at the dinner table, another empty seat in the church pew or the classroom, another worker missing on the assembly line."
"These shootings happen in homes and at cookouts, in schools and houses of worship, in local businesses and big box stores, and on the streets our children travel every day," the letter reads. "Among the affected are our employees, our customers, and the communities we work in."
A group of 145 CEOs sent a similar letter asking for action to Senate members in 2019, soon after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Gun control bills head to Senate
A collection of gun reform laws passed by the House earlier this week. Eight bills packaged together as the "Protecting Our Kids Act" passed mainly along party lines 223-204, with five Republicans joining all but two of the Democrats.
Among other things, the legislation raises the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.
"I hope the Republicans in the Senate will not stand in the way and we'll get these to the president's desk," U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, told CBS News on Tuesday.
Many believe the measures will be defeated in the Senate because of GOP opposition to stricter gun laws. The Senate is split 50-50 between the parties, and 60 votes are needed for bills to overcome a filibuster and advance to President Joe Biden.
Despite the split, CEOs urged senators, "Put the safety of your constituents and their children first. Transcend partisanship and work together to pass bold legislation to address gun violence in our country."
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