Partisans Dig In as Executives Call for Action on Guns.

When a letter signed by about 150 leaders of some of the nation’s most recognizable companies called on Thursday for tighter gun control measures, the reactions cut largely along partisan lines.

Democrats like Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said the letter, which was signed by companies including Levi Strauss, Yelp and the Gap, pointed to a “groundswell” of support for restrictions on firearms.

“The letter reflects a seismic political dynamic that is really sweeping the country,” he added.

Some Republicans accused corporate executives of meddling in politics without understanding the facts. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas chided them for “trying to become political players on divisive social issues.”

“I promise you, the people signing this letter, they don’t know any of the details of background checks or red flag laws,” Mr. Cruz said Thursday at an event hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

[The letter is the business community’s most concerted effort to enter the gun debate.]

The letter called on the Senate to approve expanded background checks for all gun sales and enact a so-called red flag law, which would allow the police to seize guns from people whom a judge deemed a threat to themselves or others.

The letter followed recent mass shootings, including one that killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso last month. Last week, Walmart’s chief executive, Doug McMillon, released a forceful statement urging Congress to enact broader background checks and revive the debate over an assault rifle ban. The retailer also said it was phasing out the sale of ammunition for military-style rifles and handguns in its stores.

The decisions by chief executives to take a stand on gun control appear to reflect the opinions of many of their customers. Multiple opinion polls show that the majority of Americans support tighter background checks, but the Republican-controlled Senate and the Trump administration have resisted taking action.

While it was unclear whether the letter would move the needle in Washington, the recent shootings are prompting other corporate groups to weigh in on gun violence.

Late Thursday, Business Roundtable, which represents giant Wall Street banks and tech companies like Amazon and Apple, released a statement calling on Congress and the Trump administration “to come together and enact bipartisan, common-sense legislation to address this epidemic.”

Until now, Business Roundtable, whose chairman is Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, had steered clear of making statements on guns. But unlike the letter signed by the executives, the group’s statement on Thursday stopped far short of calling for tighter gun control.

“Business Roundtable supports practical and effective solutions that bolster public safety and protect the constitutional rights of gun owners,” it said.

A spokeswoman for the group, Jessica Boulanger, said the “decisions about how to combat this epidemic are best left to elected officials — representing constituents — who have the policy expertise.”

Gun control advocates said any public push from corporate America — which naturally resists taking a stand on divisive issues — signaled the waning influence of the National Rifle Association.

“In the old days, politically the N.R.A. pressure exceeded the public pressure,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate’s Democratic leader. “And it’s flipped.”

Asked about the executives’ letter, Andrew Arulanandam, the N.R.A.’s managing director for public affairs, said in a statement, “Many of today’s proposals are nothing more than ‘sound-bite solutions’ — which fail to address the root of the problem, confront criminal behavior or make our communities safer.”

He added, “If we are serious about making America safer, we should begin with strict law enforcement, the increased prosecution of criminals who break federal gun laws and fixing our country’s broken mental health system.”

Продовжуючи переглядати World News (UAZMI), ви підтверджуєте, що ознайомилися з Правилами користування сайтом, і погоджуєтеся на використання файлів cookie