President and CEO of Levi Strauss, Chip Bergh, sent an open letter on Wednesday requesting that customers not bring guns into their stores. His reasoning behind the request was that recently a gun, carried by a customer, was accidentally discharged inside of a store, injuring the customer who was carrying the gun.
Bergh also explained that Levi Strauss has stores in Paris, Nice, Orlando and its European headquarters in Brussels. These have all been scenes of recent terror attacks. Bergh acknowledges “the heartfelt and strongly-held opinions on both sides of the gun debate,” but for safety reasons, “we respectfully ask people not to bring firearms into our stores, offices or facilities, even in states where it’s permitted by law. Of course, authorized members of law enforcement are an exception.”
Bergh reminds customers that this is just a request not a command that would be actively enforced, but it is heartfelt and he hopes that responsible gun owners will respect his request. In his open letter, Bergh said, “It boils down to this: you shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping for clothes or trying on a pair of jeans.”
Fortune featured Bergh’s open letter and noted that Bergh is a 59-year-old vegan and former U.S. Army captain but is not a gun owner. In 2013, Starbucks made a similar request that was ineffective; however Bergh did consult with them prior to preparing his letter. Of course, those who advocate for gun control were very receptive to Bergh’s message.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action said, in an email sent to Guns.com, “Levi’s invented blue jeans – and today they are not only reinventing what it means to wear jeans but also what it means to keep customers and employees safe in their stores, offices or facilities. This is common sense: No one should have to worry about their safety when shopping for jeans.”