By: Katie Peters, Communications Director
When we want to make change, we rightfully look to government. But we shouldn’t forget about the power of the private sector to make a meaningful impact. In the past year, the business community made unprecedented commitments to gun safety that reflect Americans’ growing demand for commonsense gun safety measures.
From retailers to grocery stores to major banks, a long list of some of America’s most well-known brands cut ties with the NRA and took action to help solve our nation’s gun violence epidemic. As the year comes to a close, we wanted to highlight three companies in particular that have been at the forefront of this important trend.
1. Dick’s Sporting Goods
Two weeks after the Parkland shooting, Dick’s Sporting Goods stepped up to the plate in a big way. Dick’s announced it would no longer carry military-style assault rifles and that it would not sell firearms to anyone under 21. This matters for two reasons. First, these changes aren’t just for show—they’ll make a real difference in keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. And second, when you’re one of the nation’s largest retailers of sports and outdoor gear, people notice a move like this.
“We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe.” – Edward Stack, Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO
2. Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi’s is iconically American and one of the most recognizable brands in the world. What they say and do matters. In September, the company announced it would commit $1 million through its Safer Tomorrow Fund “to fuel the work of nonprofits and youth activists who are working to end gun violence in America,” including Giffords. Levi’s is also convening other businesses around the issue, offering their employees paid volunteer hours, and matching employee donations to gun violence prevention organizations.
“Doing nothing is no longer an option.” – Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co. CEO
3. TOMS Shoes
After the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, Blake Mycoskie knew he had to do something. Blake is the founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, the footwear company famous for giving a pair of shoes for every pair they sell. In late November, TOMS committed $5 million to support gun violence prevention groups, including Giffords, and launched the End Gun Violence Together campaign. TOMS is also giving Americans a way to act—by visiting toms.com, you can send a postcard urging your representative to support universal background checks. So far, more than 683,000 supporters have signed up to send postcards to their lawmakers.
“Ending gun violence is about making a better world, which is what we’ve always been about.” Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes Founder
We’re grateful to TOMS, Levi’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods for their leadership and partnership in the work to make our communities safer. As you wrap up your holiday shopping this year, don’t forget about these three companies and their commitment to a safer America.
Want to learn more about how the private sector is standing up to the NRA and supporting gun safety? Check out some of the stories from this year:
New York Times: Walmart and Dick’s Raise Minimum Age for Gun Buyers to 21
Wall Street Journal: BlackRock, a Shareholder in Gun Makers, Ramps Up Pressure on Gun Industry