Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh says that he would prefer it if you would leave your gun at home or in the car before you made your way into a Levi’s store to purchase clothing, even if laws in the city or state allow it.
“You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans and it’s really out of respect for the safety of our employees and consumers shopping in our stores,”
Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh made the request in an open letter to customers posted on LinkedIn on Wednesday, aware of the potential to anger many customers, and is seeking to reassure them by saying the move is all about safety and not a political statement.
“It’s not an anti-Second Amendment thing,”
The post comes at a time of record and rising gun ownership in the U.S. The number of checks on prospective gun buyers by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is a good indicator for gun sales, reached 22.2 million this year through October, putting it on track to smash last year’s all-time record of 23 million.
For retailers and restaurants, taking any stand on the hot-button issue of gun control is bound to come with some risk: they can easily offend a big part of their clientele. And apart from race, there is perhaps no debate more ferocious in the U.S. than the one surrounding gun control.
“I’m not naive enough to expect that nothing will come of this. We are standing up for something we think is right,”
Despite his stance, Bergh doesn’t believe this will damage his company’s bottom line, as Fortune notes that Bergh “consulted Starbucks as he crafted his message, and concluded that most boycott threats around this topic ultimately blow over.”
Despite fear that Bergh’s shares with other corporations such as Target and Starbucks, gun ownership has seen a steep rise as crime has fallen. Just this black Friday after Thanksgiving, American citizens submitted record setting background checks, enough to suggest enough guns were purchased to outfit the entire Marine Corps.
Below the letter written in its entirety.