- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Levi Strauss, the famous jeans maker and clothing manufacturer, has jumped into the gun control bed with none other than the king of anti-Second Amendment himself, Michael Bloomberg.

Do corporations these days have a death wish? Seriously, are they even in business to make money any more?

Or are they simply existing to serve as political arms of politicians’ political designs?

First came Nike, throwing in with Colin Kaepernick and banking on fake social justice campaigns — the ones that say police in America purposely target blacks for persecution, prosecution and killing — to carry forth its marketing weight.

Now comes Levi’s, going after the guns.

Strauss President and CEO Chip Berghannounced a partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety, funded by Bloomberg, to pressure Congress to pass bans on private sales of firearms.

Bergh insists he’s not trying to “repeal the Second Amendment,” but rather simply prevent Americans from engaging in private sales of their own lawful properties with their friends, family members and neighbors. He puts it differently, of course, in a piece penned for Fortune called, “Why Business Leaders Need to Take a Stand on Gun Violence.”

The premise itself is wrong; there is no stand to take on gun violence in itself. Everybody hates gun violence. But if the title is supposed to suggest instead, “Why Business Leaders Need to Take a Stand on Gun Control,” well then, the premise is still wrong. Business leaders do not, in fact, need to take stands on gun control.

Bergh, apparently, thinks otherwise.

In the commentary, he writes of his 2016 plea to customers to abstain from carrying weapons into Levi’s stores, based on an accidental shooting in which a customer injured himself in the dressing room.

“In the days after I published that letter,” Berghwrote, “I received threats to our stores, our business and even on my life. … But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.”

His comments were made in context of referencing the gun-related deaths from Parkland, Sandy Hook and other “daily incidents of gun violence” suffered by gun control activists and advocates.

“Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention,” Bergh wrote. “The stakes could not be higher. On an average day, 96 Americans are killed by guns and hundreds more are wounded. Most are suicides or unintentional shootings. Our nation’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average rate of other high-income countries.”

So Levi’s is directing $1 million in philanthropic grants toward a Safer Tomorrow Fund, to spend over the next four years on nonprofits and “youth activists” fighting to stop gun violence; partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety; and doubling “our usual employee donation match” to groups that are tied to the Safer Tomorrow Fund.

“As a company,” Bergh wrote, “we have never been afraid to take an unpopular stand to support a greater good.”

That’s good — because law-abiding Americans everywhere are tired of having finger-wagging bureaucrats, do-gooders and progressive-slash-socialist control freaks dictate to them the terms of the Second Amendment, and when the backlash begins, which it will, having a company creed to embrace will no doubt help with the stocks’ plunge.

Private gun sales are not the problem; the root of gun violence is the condition of the human heart. And the factors impacting the human heart include fatherless homes, broken families, gang membership, the illegal drug trade, a dramatic upswing in prescriptions of questionable drugs, and oh yes, the biggest issue out there — the turning of our nation, as a whole, from God and the removal of virtue, morals and the teaching of biblical principles from society, both public and private.

Stopping John Q. Public from selling his Colt .45 to Jane Q. Neighbor isn’t going to prevent a Parkland.

And businesses like Levi that try to sell that line by advocating “common sense gun control” are either fooling themselves or purposely attempting to fool the public for political reasons.

Americans have been busy destroying their Nikes in protest of that company’s scoop of Colin Kaepernick for its latest public relations messaging. Look for Levi wearers to take to the streets as well, armed with lighters and scissors and smart phone cameras, in protest of this latest attempt to water the Second Amendment.

Levi’s should stick with jeans — should stick with a company’s role of making money — and leave the gun control in the political world, where it belongs.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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