Up & Coming Weekly

September 17, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 5 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM SEPTEMBER 18-24, 2019 UCW 5 OPINION MARGARET DICKSON, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@ upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Power speaking truth to power by MARGARET DICKSON American business — big, small and in between — is rarely seen as a force of political liberalism. In fact, busi- ness interests are more often than not conservative, as political money given by both business executives and business entities demonstrates. Business helps itself by lobbying for less regulation and lower taxes and often contends these positions help everyone else as well — proverbial trickle-down economics. at is why last week's open letter by 145 chief execu- tives of some of our nation's best-known corporations to leaders of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate gave whiplash to more than few Americans. e letter di- rectly and urgently asked senators to support expanded background checks for all firearms sales and stronger "red flag" laws aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of individuals considered potentially violent. e House has passed some gun control legislation, and the executives want the Senate to act on that legislation. eir letter suggests that requiring background checks on all gun sales is a "common-sense solution with over- whelming public support." What? Captains of industry urging gun-control? Yes, indeed. e business leaders, representing companies including Levi Strauss & Co., Lyft, Gap Inc., Royal Carib- bean and a financial operation founded by Jared Kush- ner's brother, wrote this to senators. "Doing nothing about America's gun violence crisis is simply unaccept- able, and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety." e letter comes after 31 people were killed last month in about 24 hours in separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Have we reached a tipping point on the issue of gun control? Recent polling indicates a high level — perhaps as much as 90% — of public support for increased gun control measures in the wake of last month's shootings. But we have had such waves of public sentiment before, notably after the Sandy Hook school shootings almost seven years ago and the Las Vegas concert massacre, which took 58 lives two years ago with no congressional action taken. With mass shootings seemingly becom- ing more frequent and deadlier, are we finally ready to address them as a nation? While American business interests have become more vocal during the Trump presidency on all sorts of issues including immigration, affordable health insurance, climate change and white supremacy, it is interesting to note which chief executives did not sign the gun control letter to senators. Among the absen- tees are CEOs of some of our nation's largest and most influential financial and technology institutions, includ- ing Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Apple, Google and Facebook. Some companies acknowledge that their leaders discussed the issue internally, and some say they are simply sticking to their business duties, thank you very much. Senators have been largely close-mouthed about the letter, so Americans of all political persuasions will have to watch and wait for a response — if any. If history is an indicator, the Republican-controlled Senate has been generally responsive to the wishes of business leaders, and business interests have rewarded Republican sena- tors with generous campaign contributions. It has been a cozy and comfortable arrangement when dealing with business issues but less so when social questions arise. Here again, if history is an indicator, not much is going to move Republican leaders on gun issues. Dead first graders, dead concert-goers, dead high school students and dead Walmart shoppers have not moved them. It remains to be seen if distressed Chief Executive Officers can make any difference. Have we reached a tipping point on the issue of gun control?

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