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USA: Business Must Act Coalition calls on 29 companies to prohibit guns in their stores & invest in community safety

The Business Must Act Coalition, comprised of 26 civil society groups, believes that American businesses have a civic responsibility to keep their customers and employees safe from gun violence in the absence of US government action on gun reform. In December 2019, the Coalition released the Gun Safety Scorecard which grades 29 companies on their actions in support of gun safety and calls for three actions from large American employers. 

Businesses with a B grade or higher in the scorecard were awarded the Gun Safety Certified mark. These include: Kroger (A); Old Navy (A); Walmart (A); Amazon (B); Costco Wholesale (B); Nordstrom (B); Starbucks (B); Target (B); Trader Joe's (B); and Whole Foods (B).

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre sought responses from the companies graded with C, D, and F scores and invited companies with A or B scores to share additional information about their actions in support of gun safety. Among the A and B graded companies, Starbucks sent additional information, available here. We have included the grades and responses below, as well as which companies did not respond.

7-Eleven, F: Did not respond

Ace Hardware, F: Did not respond 

Applebee's, F: Did not respond

Barnes & Noble, F: Did not respond

Buffalo Wild Wings, D: Did not respond

Chick-fil-A, F: Did not respond

Dollar Tree, F: Did not respond

Dunkin', F: Response received

Home Depot, F: Response received

Hot Topic, F: Declined to respond

Jos. A. Bank, F: Response received

Kohl's, F: Did not respond

Lowe's, F: Did not respond

McDonald's, F: Did not respond

Nike, F: Did not respond

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, F: Were unable to reach

Rainbow, F: Did not respond

T.J. Maxx, D: Response received

Waffle House, C: Did not respond

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All components of this story

Article
8 July 2020

Subway bans firearms from its restaurants

Author: Davis Dunavin, wshu.org

Gun control advocates are applauding Subway. The Connecticut-based fast food chain says it’ll ban firearms in its restaurants. Po Murray... with the Newtown Action Alliance, the group founded after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting... [said] “Many of us from Sandy Hook who have been exposed to gun violence suffer from PTSD, and it’s in the best interest of corporations like Subway to ban open carry in their stores. The families and survivors and many community members are plagued by the scourge of gun violence and lockdown drills. And a mere sight of weapons in restaurants and other public venues is very triggering.”

... In May, demonstrators armed with heavy weaponry, including rocket launchers, entered a Subway in North Carolina to protest stay-at-home restrictions. Other fast food chains, including Chipotle, Sonic and Panera Bread, have banned guns in their restaurants.

Read the full post here

NGO rejoinder
4 February 2020

Business Must Act Coalition's rejoinder to Dunkin'

Author: Business Must Act Coalition

We challenge Dunkin’ to take steps to reduce gun violence through supporting community based organizations addressing violence in their communities. Such steps have nothing to do with the local laws or elected officials and would greatly improve the livelihoods of the communities Dunkin’ serves. On its website, Dunkin’ claims that it is "committed to giving back to the places where we live." Living up to that mission requires the company to get off the sidelines and actively lobby against unjust federal, state and local laws and regulations that put its customers and employees at risk of gun violence. Therefore, we are asking Dunkin’ to: 1) adopt a national policy that asks all customers to avoid bringing guns into their stores, 2) begin lobbying lawmakers on gun reform (including state lawmakers who are responsible for open carry laws), 3) invest in the communities you serve by supporting community-based gun violence intervention programs. 

NGO rejoinder
4 February 2020

Business Must Act Coalition's rejoinder to Jos. A. Bank

Author: Business Must Act Coalition

If Jos. A. Bank is truly dedicated to “providing a safe environment for our employees to work and customers to visit,” then it has a responsibility to do everything it can to help build safer communities with fewer guns. That means: 1) adopting a national policy that asks all customers to avoid bringing guns into their stores, 2) lobbying lawmakers on gun reform (including state lawmakers who are responsible for open carry laws), 3) investing in the communities they serve by supporting community-based gun violence intervention programs.

NGO rejoinder
4 February 2020

Business Must Act Coalition's rejoinder to Starbucks

Author: Business Must Act Coalition

While we appreciate Starbucks’ leadership in prohibiting open carry in states where the brandishing of guns in public is already outlawed, the coffee shop has a responsibility to actively lobby lawmakers on the state level to overturn dangerous and unjust open carry laws that threaten the safety of its customers and employees. We know that Starbucks sees itself as “a good neighbor” that “has always believed that we can balance profitability and a social conscience.” Actively working to build safer communities with fewer guns is instrumental to that mission. 

NGO rejoinder
4 February 2020

Business Must Act Coalition's rejoinder to T.J. Maxx

Author: Business Must Act Coalition

TJ MAXX does not sell firearms or ammunition, but it still experiences the consequences of our nation's loose gun laws first-hand. In November of 2014, an employee was gunned down while taking a break outside the store in Cape Coral, Florida. That’s why TJ MAXX, a company that prioritizes the safety of its Associates and customers, should help build safer communities for all of us by prohibiting customers from bringing guns into its stores and using its powerful public voice to actively lobby for stronger gun laws. 

NGO rejoinder
4 February 2020

Business Must Act Coalition's rejoinder to The Home Depot

Author: Business Must Act Coalition

We challenge Home Depot to take steps to reduce gun violence through supporting community based organizations addressing violence in their communities. Such steps have nothing to do with the local laws or elected officials and would greatly improve the livelihoods of the communities Home Depot serves. Home Depot has also experienced the consequences of gun violence first hand. In 2017, a Home Depot in New York City erupted into violence after a store manager was shot and killed by an individual who was recently fired from the store. If Home Depot is serious about  "giving back to the communities we're proud to call our own," as it claims on its website, then it has a responsibility to not just abide by the decisions of local elected officials; it must actively work to influence those lawmakers to pave the way for stricter gun laws.

Article
7 January 2020

29 stores including Walmart and Nike were graded on their gun-safety policies — and more than half of them failed

Author: Shoshy Ciment, Business Insider

A coalition of gun control advocacy groups led by Guns Down America published a gun safety scorecard for national retailers. The list assigns a number and grade letter to 29 businesses, including Walmart, Trader Joe's, Kroger, and Chick-fil-A , and ranks each company according to three categories. Retailers can earn or lose points based on their in-store gun policies, donations made to the National Rifle Association, and whether the company or its CEO has ever publicly demanded action on gun control. Walmart, Kroger, and Old Navy were the only companies to receive an A grade. Sixteen companies, including McDonald's and Home Depot, received a failing grade.

"Over the last several months, corporate America recognized that they have a responsibility to help us build safer communities with fewer guns and our campaign is pushing them to turn their words into action," Igor Volsky, founder and executive director of Guns Down America, said in a press release. "When corporate America recognizes that its top business priority is keeping its customers and employees alive, they add their voices to the overwhelming number of American consumers who support gun reform, reach more moderate and conservative audiences, and help advance the political and cultural change we'll need to make real progress on this issue."... Out of the 29 stores on the list, 25 of them had instances of gun violence in their stores, according to Guns Down America.

Read the full post here

Company response
7 January 2020

Dunkin's response to F grade in gun safety scorecard

Author: Dunkin'

Dunkin’ restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees who are required to adhere to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Download the full document here

Article
7 January 2020

Gun safety advocates grade stores. Walmart got an A; Home Depot got an F

Author: Clare Duffy, CNN Business

A coalition of gun-reform advocacy groups on Wednesday released a scorecard that gives letter grades to 29 retailers based on their in-store gun policies, their public stance on gun safety and their donations to top National Rifle Association-backed politicians. Just three companies — Kroger (KR), Old Navy (GPS) and Walmart (WMT) — received As... The project is meant to push retailers to "lean into gun reform," said Igor Volsky, founder and executive director of advocacy group Guns Down America, which headed the project.

 ... In light of increasing gun violence in America, retailers have been steadily changing their tune... the second half of 2019 saw a major and public shift in the retail industry's involvement in the gun debate... After a mass shooter killed 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas... Guns Down America and other advocacy groups, along with employees and customers, pressured the company to stop allowing customers to openly carry guns in its stores. Several weeks later, Walmart agreed, enacting a no-open carry policy and setting off a wave of other retailers doing the same... [A] group of 145 business leaders signed a letter in September demanding the US government take action on gun violence... "During a period of federal inaction, large American businesses have a responsibility to do everything they can to keep their customers and their employees alive," Volsky told CNN Business. "Because as Walmart tragically learned firsthand, the risk of having 393 million guns in civilian hands in the United States is really real."

Read the full post here

Company response
7 January 2020

Jos. A. Bank's response to F grade in gun safety scorecard

Author: Jos. A. Bank

Jos. A. Bank is uncompromising in our dedication to providing a safe environment for our employees to work and customers to visit. We abide by all applicable laws and regulations, and have sound policies in place to advance this commitment.

Download the full document here