Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh has thrown his hat into the Second Amendment rights ring by announcing the company’s public gun control advocacy.
The company plans to donate $1 million over four years through grants to anti-gun groups — including the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, a Michael Bloomberg-fronted group — and will also encourage employee contributions through offering to double-match all the monies they throw toward the anti-gun campaign.
Within 24 hours of the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year, Everytown received $750,000 in online donations.
The day after the incident, Bloomberg, a long-time advocate for tighter firearm regulations in this country, urged citizens to act to “demand common-sense solutions to the gun violence crisis.”
We must demand our government act to protect its citizens. Text ACT to 644-33 to join a local event with @Everytown & @MomsDemand and the millions of Americans demanding common-sense solutions to the gun violence crisis.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 15, 2018
After the mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas last October — which left 58 dead and over 800 injured — the former mayor took to Twitter to announce that he would match all donations to Everytown.
The “US has a gun violence problem,” he wrote in his tweet. “I’ll match every donation.”
“Give now,” he added.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) October 4, 2017
The San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. is no stranger to anti-gun movements.
Since the late ‘90s, Levi’s has used money and its brand name to promote civilian disarmament, throwing $100,000 into Dan Gross’s PAX (now the Center to Prevent Youth Violence) in 1999.
That was followed by another $250,000 and $100,000 in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
In his Fortune magazine op-ed, Bergh maintained that other industry executives “cannot idly stand by” on gun control issues, stating “doing nothing isn’t an option” — although he acknowledged their advocacy may “be unpopular with some.”
To clarify, Bergh, a former U.S. Army officer himself, isn’t wanting to disassemble the Second Amendment — he believes stricter background checks are mandatory.
Since the Parkland shooting, other companies have proactively limited or eliminated guns from their sales floor. Walmart, Fred Meyer, L.L. Bean and Dick’s Sporting Goods all now limit sales of firearms to persons over 21, while Citigroup has shut down lending to companies that fail to follow new gun restrictions and rules set forth by the banking giant.
Bergh issued an open letter in 2016 requesting that people not bring firearms into the Levi Strauss stores, after an incident in which a customer shot and injured himself in a store.
Shortly after that letter, he received death threats as well as threats to Levi’s stores.
Check this out:
We announced our plans to step up our support for gun violence prevention. Hear from our CEO, Chip Bergh, on why he feels it is important for us to speak out. https://t.co/PwO2okGLoD pic.twitter.com/iyAm6sMJ3d
— Levi Strauss & Co. (@LeviStraussCo) September 5, 2018
See more in the video below.