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Restaurants sit out a new effort to curb gun violence

A sizable swath of the business community is leaning on the Senate to pass potential safeguards, but restaurants are not part of it.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The CEOs and chairmen of 145 corporations have joined forces to press the U.S. Senate for legislation aimed at reducing gun violence, but not a single restaurant chief is among them.

In a letter sent today, the group urges the Senate to adopt two popular but controversial measures aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of would-be assailants. The communication calls for legislation requiring a background check on all gun purchasers, not just individuals who are buying through a store or other business. It also urges the upper chamber of commerce to give courts the authority to order the seizure of firearms from someone who has been identified as a potential public threat. 

“Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more are wounded,” reads the letter. “As leaders of some of America’s most respected companies and those with significant business interests in the United States, we are writing to you because we have a responsibility to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers and all Americans in the communities we serve.”

The potential safeguards it requests have already been passed by the House of Representatives.

The communication was signed by all 145 of the CEOs, who ranged from the leader of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, to the chief of Levi Strauss, Chip Bergh. 

Restaurant suppliers have a strong presence on the list. The signers included the CEOs of Ecolab (Doug Baker), Beyond Meat (Ethan Brown), Impossible Foods (Patrick Brown) and Uber (Dara Khosrowshahi), among others.

Restaurant investors are also prevalent, with the signees including the co-chairmen of Oaktree Capital Management (Howard Marks) and Bain Capital (Steve Pagliuca). 

But restaurant owners and franchisors are not on the list, which is broken down into large and small companies. 

A number of chains have already taken steps to protect guests and employees at a grassroots level by prohibiting the open carry of guns inside their restaurants. No-guns policies were adopted middecade by Panera Bread, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Sonic Drive-In, Whataburger, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks. Many adopted the policies after Texas and other states changed their gun laws to permit the open carry of firearms in public places such as restaurants. 

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