Testimony from people who have lost family and friends to gun violence doesnâ€™t seem to have much influenced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nor have the views of nearly 90 percent of Americans, who polls show favor sensible gun-control measures that he is blocking. Now, though, comes support for gun-law reform from a possibly unexpected quarter: leaders of some of the countryâ€™s best-known companies. Can they move the majority leader to do his job?
â€śDoing nothing about Americaâ€™s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,â€ť the heads of 145 companies wrote to Senate leaders. They urged an expansion of background checks on gun sales and enactment of a strong â€śred flagâ€ť law. Leaders of the companies, including Levi Strauss, Twitter and Uber, said they were writing out of a sense of â€śresponsibility and obligation to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers and all Americans in the communities we serve.â€ť The letter, following decisions by Walmart and CVS to prohibit the open carry of firearms in their stores, shows a change in attitude in a corporate world that traditionally has tried to stay out of such political debates. McConnell, R-Ky., should take note, particularly of the words â€śresponsibility and obligation.â€ť His refusal to bring to the Senate floor the bipartisan bill expanding background checks already passed by the House or to consider any other measures is an abrogation of those principles. He has said he is waiting for President Donald Trump to say what measures he would be willing to support, suggesting that to do otherwise would be a waste of time.
Never mind that when it comes to gun control, more so than any other issue, Trump has proved to be highly mercurial. Since when must the Senate await permission from the White House before legislating? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made that point clear the other day when she was asked if she had regrets about not bringing the House back in August after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. Because the House passed legislation in February, Pelosi was understandably irritated. â€śDonâ€™t ask me what we havenâ€™t done. We have done it,â€ť she said. â€śAnd if you are annoyed with my impatience, itâ€™s because people are dying because Senator McConnell hasnâ€™t acted.â€ť