Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh is posting an open letter to customers, asking law-abiding citizens to refrain from bringing their concealed carry firearms into Levi Strauss stores.
Bergh said his letter represents a “request” rather than a “mandate” or all-out ban, but he hopes customers will honor the request and enter Levi Strauss stores unarmed.
Fortune published Bergh’s letter, where he wrote:
Providing a safe environment to work and shop is a top priority for us at Levi Strauss & Co. That imperative is quickly challenged, however, when a weapon is carried into one of our stores. Recently, we had an incident in one of our stores where a gun inadvertently went off, injuring the customer who was carrying it.
So, while we understand the heartfelt and strongly-held opinions on both sides of the gun debate, it is with the safety and security of our employees and customers in mind that 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.
The “incident” Bergh referenced was an accidental discharge whereby a Commerce, Georgia, customer lawfully carrying a gun accidentally shot himself and sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Bergh pointed out that Levi Strauss has stores in “Paris, Nice, and Orlando”–the locations of three of the largest terror attacks of the last year–suggesting these three attack played a role in the decision to ask law-abiding citizens to disarm before entering stores throughout the US. Bergh did not mention that November 13, 2015, Paris attack took place in a gun-free zone, as did the June 12, 2016, Orlando Pulse attack. In both these instances, law-abiding patrons were disarmed in the very way Bergh seeks to disarm law-abiding patrons in his stores.
Moreover, in Nice, a gun was not even used. Rather, 84 people were killed by a terrorist who ran over them with a large truck.
Bergh said he knows some individuals will react to the request to disarm by boycotting Levi Strauss, but he “concluded that most boycott threats around this topic ultimately blow over.”
Bergh said, “You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans.”