Posts Tagged ‘Chili’s’

Levi Strauss Joins Growing Number of Businesses Saying “No Guns”

Friday, December 9th, 2016

He is a former U.S. Army captain who can clean a gun blindfolded. But last month, Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh asked customers not to bring guns in the stores after a customer carrying a handgun shot himself in a Commerce, Georgia store.


“You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans and it’s really out of respect for the safety of our employees and consumers shopping in our stores,” said Bergh adding that store workers have raised concerns.


Levi Strauss joins Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Target, Whole Foods, Peet’s, Ikea, Disneyland, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Toys R US and the AMC and Cinemark theaters in recognizing that most customers do not want to dine or shop next to gun carriers.



Almost five years ago, NGVAC, working with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and Fellowship of Reconciliation, declared a Valentine’s Day boycott of Starbucks because of its refusal to ban guns or even post a sign telling customers they were entering an armed zone. In response to our boycott, menacing groups of gun carriers staged derisive “Gun Appreciation Days”–even in Newtown after the Sandy Hook massacre–which moved Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to request that “customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas” in 2013 because carriers were “increasingly uncivil” and “even threatening.”




Like Levis, Starbucks has experienced gun accidents. In 2011, at a Cheyenne, Wyoming store, a carrier dropped her purse, discharging a gun and the bullet missed a customer by 12 inches. Less than two years later, at a St. Petersburg, Florida Starbucks, another woman dropped a purse with a gun. Early this year, there was a shooting in an Aurora, Colorado Starbucks.


Like Starbucks (whom Bergh says he consulted) and other no-gun chains, Levis will also likely see no dip in business. Why? Because gun advocates have a loud bark but little financial power as consumers. An NRA boycott of ConocoPhillips over its gun policies was an embarrassing flop a few years ago. Conversely, a boycott by gun safety oriented customers of H&R Block because of a partnership with the NRA was swiftly successful.


Corporations, when they take a stand, can effect social change more quickly than lawmakers. Within weeks of Microsoft’s pro-marriage equality stand, hundreds of other companies followed suit. Indiana reversed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act within days of hearing from Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others, threatening to pull their convention business. The NFL reversed its tolerance of players’ domestic violence charges within days of hearing from sponsors like Anheuser-Busch and the Radisson hotel chain.


Bergh and other CEOs are realizing they will lose no business in banning guns and it is in their self-interest. The top law firm Mayer Brown advises that property owners who do not put up “no guns” signs could easily face the argument that injuries were entirely “foreseeable” in court if violence occurs. Until he ran for President, Trump properties even sported “no guns” signs.


It is ironic that every major U.S. corporation already bans guns in their board rooms and headquarters. Are customers and employees less important? We applaud Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh!

When Will Apple, American Airlines and PayPal Address Gun Violence?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016


If the death of 20 first graders, the shooting of Rep. Giffords and the San Bernardino massacre did not drive federal gun safety laws, nothing will. After the San Bernardino massacre, lawmakers would not even ban people on the Terror Watch List from buying guns actually placing “gun rights” over our right to be safe from terrorists!


Yet it took about a week for Indiana lawmakers to change their mind about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others threatened to pull their convention business. And American Airlines, PayPal, Wells Fargo and the NBA will no doubt have a similar effect on LGBT discrimination laws that states are currently trying to enact.


What is the difference? Money. Lawmakers can and do ignore calls and vigils from gun violence victims but when PayPal threatens to pull its $3.6-million, 400-job project or the NBA its 2017 All-Star game lawmakers wake up and smell the coffee. No state wants to be an economic island. (And remember how quickly the NFL reversed tolerance of domestic violence after hearing from sponsors like Anheuser-Busch and the Radisson hotel chain?)



NRA cartoons - Google Search


US corporations are twice hypocrites. First they speak out on LGBT rights and domestic violence but are mute on the need for laws to mitigate the gun violence epidemic that kills 82 people a day in the US—and accounts for the majority of domestic violence. And secondly, they allow gun carriers in their stores, restaurants or outlets while clearly banning them in corporate offices.


Just as 90 percent of the nation deplores LGBT discrimination, 90 percent of the nation wants sane gun laws like universal background checks. (Currently any criminal can buy a gun at a gun show.) Major chains like Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Target, Whole Foods, Peet’s, Ikea, Disneyland, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Toys R US and the AMC and Cinemark theaters recognize customers do not want to enter an armed zone and dine or shop next to “carriers” without even knowing it. But few have the courage to outright ban guns.


And there is more hypocrisy. Last week, the same gun rights absolutists who say gun-free zones kill because armed good guys can’t stop armed bad guys “suddenly got religion when it came to armed delegates in a convention hall in Cleveland,” says the New Yorker. Hey, those things kill. In 2015, Trump’s own hotel in Chicago had a “no guns” sign.


No, lawmakers don’t and won’t listen to gun violence victims no matter how many vigils we hold. They think people on the Terror Watch List have gun rights. But they do listen to corporate America which can make their state an economic island as we saw with Indiana and currently are seeing with North Carolina and Mississippi.


Why Are Corporations Silent on Gun Violence? Get Ready for Our New Campaign

Friday, January 15th, 2016

January 15, 2016

Light a cigarette in any US business and you will be asked to put it out and possibly leave. Since secondhand smoke, SHS, (also known as “involuntary smoking”) was exposed as having no safe level and being linked to cancers of the larynx, pharynx, brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, breast and liver, you can smoke exactly nowhere. (more…)

Elliot Fineman appears on Thom Hartmann's Show With Guest Host Mike Papantonio

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Here is a very succinct explanation of NGVAC’s philosophy. Politicians have not listened to the 90 percent of the US who do not want to live in an armed camp, for 20 years. But our buying power can and does make a difference–because we have the numbers! Gun fanatics do not.


In 2012, NGVAC launched an action against Starbucks which led to the coffee chain disinviting guns last year. Since then, other great restaurants like Chili’s, Jack in the Box, Sonic and Chipotle are moving in the same direction.

Now NGVAC has launched a boycott of Hallmark cards who refuses to publicly support universal background checks and who has said they will never support “anti-gun” laws because they are “divisive.” This, from a “family” company which loves children and commemorates heartfelt occasions.

Like a growing number of enlightened businesses, we hope that Hallmark will see that supporting sane gun laws is good business. It honors the sentiments of 90 percent of this nation. If corporate America took a stance against gun violence we would have sane gun laws tomorrow.



Boycott Hallmark cards which refuses to publicly support universal background checks. Send instead these free, custom-designed SHATTERED HEART™ cards.

Elliot Fineman's oped about Hallmark action appears on the Hill

Monday, June 16th, 2014

June 13, 2014, 10:30 am

A real Father’s Day present for your Dad—your safety


By Elliot Fineman


On Valentine’s Day 2012, National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC), a group I founded after my son was killed by a deranged shooter, launched an action against Starbucks called “Brew Not Bullets.” Starbucks had been sanctioning the open and concealed carry of firearms in their stores, a clear threat to the safety of Starbuck’s employees and patrons.

First, with a boycott of Starbucks, that company found out the hard way that when people from all walks of life join forces to protect their families, those who ignore our basic right to life will lose every time. Since then—due to our work and that of other great organizations advocating for gun safety—a number of other companies from Chipotle to Chili’s have followed suit.

In doing so, they’ve stood up to vocal “open carry” advocates, honoring not only the overwhelming sentiment of their customers, but the innocent lives taken in such spaces.  This includes that of my son—who was minding his own business having dinner with his wife in a San Diego restaurant when he was shot and killed by a mentally ill man who should never have had a gun.

Accordingly, the Newtown Victims & Clergy for Corporate Responsibility (NVCCR) and NGVAC decided to take the next step. We sent a letter to Hallmark Cards asking them to publicly support and proactively advocate for universal background checks.

Sadly, however, even though Hallmark says on its website it has “high standards of ethics and integrity,” and believes in “caring and responsible corporate citizenship for…each community in which we operate,” in response to our request, Hallmark Chairman Donald Hall, Jr. sang quite a different tune. He responded dismissively, refusing to meet with us, and saying, “We do not get involved in divisive issues.”

Sorry Mr. Hall, but that’s not going to cut it anymore.Hallmark bans guns in its corporate headquarters to protect its CEO and senior management, so why has the company deliberately chosen not to require Hallmark Gold Crown® stores to do the same? This would seem to send a message that the lives of Hallmark executives are more important than those of their customers, who buy their cards and pay their salaries.

Of course, no matter what Hall says, Hallmark clearly is involved in this divisive issue, because to not ban guns or support universal background checks is a pro-gun stance. Further, Hallmark takes strong stands on other issues and pays its eight lobbyists over $500,000 per year to try to pass laws related to postage, radio, television and taxes. One thinks they easily add gun safety to their portfolio, and what a difference they could make.

According to NGVAC’s analysis of a Johns Hopkins Center for GunPolicy and Research study of the rise in gun homicides when Missouri repealed its background check Universal background checks would reduce gun homicides by 2,000 lost lives per year,

Polling shows that 91 percent of Americans, including 74 percent of NRA members want universal background checks. Given these numbers, refusing to support universal background checks is not only a disgraceful moral abdication, but an incredibly ill-thought-out business decision.

To quote my friends, the Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Senior Pastor of Newtown Congregational Church and co-chair of NVCCR, and Rabbi Shaul Praver of the Newtown Synagogue,  “We can no longer let corporate America stand on the sidelines ignoring their ethical and moral responsibilities. We have seen where that gets us, with yet another slaughter of our children in Santa Barbara. By refusing to support universal background checks, Hallmark has turned its back on gun victims, as well as the American people.”

Over 5,000 fathers lose their lives to gun homicides each year, according to NGVAC’s analysis of CDC and FBI data. This figure does not include the number of fathers who have lost their children to gun violence, like myself, who can no longer celebrate another Father’s Day with their loved ones.

That’s why NVCCR and NGVAC are asking the public not to buy Hallmarkcards for Father’s Day. Instead we ask that you give a custom designed NGVAC Shattered Heart™ Father’s Day card, which can be downloaded free or sent electronically.

The truth is, if corporations were willing to get behind our families’ right to public safety, something 9 out of every 10 of their customers supports, we would have universal background checks tomorrow. Hallmark could have been a leader on this issue, but instead Mr. Hall’ chosen to be on the wrong side of history.

But he can’t hide behind a talking point. His customers understand that our lives are more important than his platitudes.

Fineman is CEO and president of National Gun Victims Action Council.



Why Can't a “Law-Abiding Citizen" Carry Ricin?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

ITGS_comp_screen BLACKWhy Can’t a “Law-Abiding Citizen” Carry Ricin?

By Elliot Fineman


Part of the IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID Series

“Law-abiding” citizens have the right to carry guns to defend themselves” is the meme that drives our gun laws. Relying on this meme, laws have been passed that allow concealed and open-carried guns in public places ranging from restaurants, bars and movies, to churches and offices. Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” law is the most extreme law a state has ever passed, ironically after one of the nation’s biggest gun violence incidents, at Sandy Hook elementary school in late 2012.

Here in Illinois, Circuit Judge Richard Posner cited the rights of law-abiding citizens to self-defense in overturning Illinois’ ban on concealed weapons–yet the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision never mentions the individual’s right to carry a gun for self-defense–only to have it in the home. Nor does the Second Amendment mention “self-defense” or even “firearms.” Clearly, judges themselves have bought the “meme.”

The insanity of our guns laws is demonstrated by a conversation I had with someone after a talk I gave who did not agree that we need better gun laws. I asked him if he were familiar with ricin, a substance that is so poisonous that a dose the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human. He said yes he was.

Well, I said, I am a law-abiding citizen and under the Second Amendment I have the right to carry ricin to defend myself and my family. The Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about guns or firearms–it just mentions “arms” and, according to the United Nations, there are at least 33 different types of arms. What do you think about me carrying ricin for self-defense, I asked.

The gun advocate said he did not feel too good about it because it was “pretty dangerous and you could kill a lot of people.”

In point of fact, in the U.S., ricin is so controlled that scientists must register with Health and Human Services before they can possess it to use for their research. A Mississippi man was recently sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for mailing ricin-tainted letters. Would anyone in the U.S. tolerate “law-abiding citizens” carrying ricin–even if there were a lucrative ricin lobby pushing universal ricin carrying like there is for guns? Would anyone tolerate citizens carrying ricin if it were responsible for 30,000 U.S. deaths a year?

I often end my talks about the need for sane gun laws in the U.S. by saying there is one country where the government imposes no gun regulations. People can have all the weapons they want and take them anywhere whether they are criminals, mentally ill, have vendettas, have no training or are children. The government never gets in the way of their “gun rights” or imposes gun laws or restrictions. That country is Somalia.


NGVAC’s 90 minute, bi-monthly radio show, IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID, airs every other Thursday at 6 PM Eastern Time on 1480 WPWC in Washington, D.C., an AM station that also covers northern Virginia and southern Maryland and reaches nearly 600,000 social media members. The show may be viewed live on the YouTube We Act Radio channel and heard on (“Listen Live”), and on Androids or IOS smartphones (TuneIn>Search>”We Act Radio”). Highlights of the show, the complete show and previous shows are posted on the NGVAC website.