Sep 5, 2019

New research encourages CEOs to act on guns

Rebeccca Zisser/Axios

The majority of U.S. adults in a new poll by Edelman Intelligence would feel more favorably toward a company whose CEO backs tougher background checks for gun purchases.

Why it matters: CEOs traditionally were reluctant to wade into polarizing issues, but they face pressure from shareholders, employees and customers to show their values.

The global communications firm, which has conducted the Edelman Trust Barometer research for 19 years, gave Axios a first look at the poll.

  • The bottom line: Companies have "more to gain than they put at risk by taking a stand" on guns.
  • Just this week, Walmart halted ammo sales for handguns and assault-style weapons. Kroger joined Walmart in asking shoppers not to carry guns openly.

Edelman's advice to CEOs, based on the research:

  • "Executives have the public's permission to use their platforms to draw visibility to the issue and support gun safety laws."
  • "Businesses can choose from a variety of unifying initiatives — like background checks, red flag laws and educational program funding."
  • "Consumers are 3x more likely to respond positively than negatively to a CEO or company that takes action to address gun violence."

The full report:

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145 CEOs urge Senate to pass gun control legislation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

145 top CEOs signed a letter urging the Republican-controlled Senate to act on gun control by passing legislation already introduced by Democrats, reports the New York Times.

The big picture: Corporate America is taking the lead in tackling gun control. Multiple retail companies, including Walmart and CVS, are asking customers to not openly carry firearms in their stores. After a deadly shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people, Walmart stores stopped selling ammunition for handguns and assault rifles.

Go deeperArrowSep 12, 2019

Where 2020 Democrats stand on gun control

Warren and Biden on the debate stage on Jan. 14. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a new gun reform bill on Thursday with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) that calls for raising the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21 and increasing the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.

The big picture: 2019's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach; and near Odessa, Texas, have pushed 2020 Democrats to take harder stances on gun control than in the last presidential election, when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton only briefly addressed the issue in their primary debate.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to chair Business Roundtable

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on CNBC. Photo: Adam Jeffery/CNBC via Getty Images

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon was named Thursday as the incoming chairman of the Business Roundtable, a CEO-only group that recently sparked a national conversation about the evolving role of corporations in society.

Why it matters: McMillon — born in Arkansas, where Walmart is headquartered, and with the company his whole career — brings a heartland face to business at a time when CEOs face rising political pressure from employees, social media and customers.

Go deeperArrowSep 19, 2019