(Hartford, CT) – In a letter today to the National Retail Federation, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) called on retailers to join the national, bipartisan push for commonsense gun violence reform measures and to consider voluntary measures individual retailers could take to immediately reduce gun violence in their stores.
There have been an estimated 79 shootings and 19 fatalities at Walmart alone since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Just last month a loaded hand-gun was left in the toy aisle of a Target store in South Carolina.
In addition to the National Retail Federation, the letter was sent to the nation’s ten largest retailers, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Costco, The Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS Caremark, Lowes, Safeway, and McDonald’s.
A copy of the letter follows.
June 13, 2014
President & CEO
National Retail Federation
1101 New York Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Dear Mr. Shay,
Today, pervasive gun violence threatens all Americans – from a Walmart in Las Vegas, Nevada to an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. There have been an estimated 79 shootings and 19 fatalities alone at Walmart since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Just last month a loaded hand-gun was left in the toy aisle of a Target store in South Carolina. We urge the membership of the National Retail Federation to consider voluntary measures retailers can take immediately to reduce gun violence and ask that you stand with us by officially endorsing S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 and bipartisan amendments to it that would have reduced gun violence.
In the aftermath of the senseless deaths of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, a nation-wide conversation took place about how to reduce gun violence. Congress considered a variety of ways to keep us safe from gun violence – primarily criminal background checks on all firearms sales and a ban on illegal trafficking. A year and half ago, the Senate fell five votes short of overcoming objections to a final up or down vote to pass this comprehensive bipartisan legislation. Every day since then we have been working to bring it back for a vote.
We need the voices of everyone that would be helped, including our nation’s retailers, to join us in this effort. Starbucks and Chipotle adopted customer-friendly policies that deter individuals from carrying firearms into their stores and we recently wrote to urge Target to follow their example. It is never too late to help reduce gun violence. Every day that passes sees the shooting deaths of 32 Americans.
We hope you will, after reflecting on these shooting deaths, contribute your voice to the nationwide effort to enact common-sense gun safety reforms. Help our constituents and your shoppers get the five votes necessary to pass out of the Senate bipartisan measures to reduce gun violence. Join us in working towards a safer America.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty