San Francisco, CA – Levi Strauss & Co., a privately held clothing company, said it “simply cannot stand by silently.”
The company is calling for stricter gun laws and offering $1 million in grant money to be used on gun issues.
The denim company is also working with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to promote stricter gun laws.
Everytown for Gun Safety threatens to “kick out lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby.” It also opposed “concealed carry reciprocity” which allows states to honor gun permits of non-residents.
Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss, published an op-ed Sept. 4 in Fortune magazine saying that “doing nothing is no longer an option.”
“You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple,” Bergh wrote. “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us—all generations and all walks of life.”
Bergh stated that his company would provide $1 million in grants over four years to help non-profits and youth activists “working to end gun violence in America.”
Levi Strauss also is teaming with Bloomberg’s organization to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety, which will prompt businesses to take more a role in promoting gun safety.
The CEO also wrote that the company will “encourage” employees to get involved in its gun agenda. It is allowing company employees to use their 60 hours a year of paid volunteer time to be used on political activism.
Bergh also wrote an open letter to customers in 2016 asking them not to bring their guns into Levi Strauss stores. He said that he wrote that letter after a customer shot himself in the leg by accident while trying on a pair of jeans.
"We have a gun violence epidemic in America, and companies like ours—that operate in American communities—can no longer watch from the sidelines," a Levi Strauss spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon. "Although LS&Co. has taken some action to support gun-violence prevention over the last two decades, we believe there is a bigger role that business can play in effecting real change. Through our newly established Safer Tomorrow Fund and involvement in the Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety coalition, we hope to catalyze others to join us and be part of stemming gun violence in this country."