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US gun laws must be stricter, say business chiefs

Chip Bergh
Image copyrightREUTERS
Levi Strauss boss Chip Bergh was one of the signatories

The leaders of 145 US companies have sent a letter urging Congress to enact stricter gun laws as pressure builds on lawmakers to respond to gun violence.

An average of 100 people a day are shot and killed in the US. Polls have shows that nearly half of all Americans expect another mass shooting to happen soon.

A woman holds a placard that say gun control now during a gun reform rally that was held in Dayton, Ohio in the wake of a mass shooting at the area earlier this month that left 9 dead and 27 wounded.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
A spate of deadly mass shootings has stoked fresh debate about gun control

Businesses have long avoided the controversial subject, but in recent years a spate of high-profile attacks at schools and festivals have pushed them into the debate.

Retailers, including most recently Walmart, have limited or banned gun sales and asked the public not to carry weapons openly in their stores even where legally permitted.

In Wednesday’s letter, the business chiefs from companies such as Levi Strauss, Pinterest, Bain Capital, Gap and Brookfield Property Group, called the situation an “urgent public health crisis”.

“Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,” they wrote.

It remains unclear whether Congress will act.

This week, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives took up bills that seek to remove guns from people deemed a risk, ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and prohibit people convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors from possessing firearms.

But the Senate, which has a Republican majority, has stayed quiet on the subject, and US President Donald Trump has waffled on his position.

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