An Open Letter to Customers: Our Weapons PolicyThe usual disclaimers apply. He has the right to say what he wants, and I fully endorse his right to choose who he wishes to do business with.
President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co
The debate in the U.S. over gun safety and gun rights is as complex as it is divisive. As a former army officer, a father and business leader, I’ve heard the arguments from all sides. And, as CEO of a 163-year-old company whose products and presence rest at the intersection of culture and community in more than 110 countries around the world, I feel a tremendous responsibility to share our position on the issue, now, at a time when clarity is paramount.
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.
With stores in Paris, Nice and Orlando, and the company’s European headquarters in Brussels, I’ve thought more about safety in the past year than in the previous three decades of my career because of how ‘close to home’ so many incidents with guns have come to impacting people working for this company.
We operate in hundreds of stores across every state in the U.S., and laws are different in each one. We know that the presence of firearms in our stores creates an unsettling environment for many of our employees and customers. We also know that trying to enforce a ban could potentially undermine the purpose of the ban itself: safety. With that in mind we’ve made this decision as a business – a request not a mandate – and we sincerely hope responsible gun owners will respect our position.
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. Simply put, firearms don't belong in either of those settings. In the end, I believe we have an obligation to our employees and customers to ensure a safe environment and keeping firearms out of our stores and offices will get us one step closer to achieving that reality.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
That out of the way....
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Levis was a brand synonymous with pioneering and the wilderness, but now it's about fashion, and with that fashion come fashionable ideas about the world.
I won't even ask if they'd tell citizens of any particular demographic with an outsized crime rate that, given various rampages over the last years, are almost guaranteed to have assaulted someone in a Levi's store or in the vicinity of one. That would be to acknowledge hatefacts, and we can't post a copy of Colin Flaherty's "White Girl Bleed a Lot" or "Don't Make The Black Kids Angry".
No - it's using this incident not as an excuse to ban or restrain an idiot customer, but to pre-emptively ban an entire class of law-abiding citizens. And like all those Taleb labels "Intellectual yet Idiot" he gets "the first order logic right, but not second-order (or higher) effects".
This blindness is why the argument Bastiat makes, of the seen vs the unseen, completely bypasses them. It likely is related to why they literally cannot consider any negative effects from gay marriage, nevermind ones big enough in the confluence of that, pushing careers for women vice homemaking, etc. to undo civilization (hint: the future belongs to those who show up).
Yes, by not having guns in stores, fewer people may get shot in stores, though I'm sure a few thugs and predators will be happy to know they have carte blanche. It's not clear the stores will actually be safer though. Certainly, they make an exception for law enforcement, as if police cannot also be thugs, and out of total ignorance that private concealed carriers likely shoot and use their firearms more than most cops.
It's almost surreal that he actually claims to have thought about Nice, Paris, and Orlando, for it's not like those firearms, or those in San Bernandino, were lawfully employed, and Nice involved a truck.
One can certainly detect the scent of "no one needs to carry a gun" - and the comments - which also include a few pro-gun idiots - bear that out in spades, with phallic compensation and a desire to punch out anyone carrying simply for doing so starring prominently.
So - Levi as a company has nicely requested that customers not bring their icky firearms because they're not appropriate, they believe, for buying clothes.
And I'm figuring that Wrangler, among other brands, works well enough.
UPDATE: It's also interesting to look at Chicago - 700 homicides this year and counting despite intensive gun control, and wonder if Levi's wants their stores "safer" in the same way.