NEW YORK — PR industry leaders are among more than 220 CEOs calling on the US Senate to “take bold urgent action to address our gun violence epidemic” in the wake of recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo.

“Taken together, the gun violence epidemic represents a public health crisis that continues to devastate communities — especially Black and Brown communities — and harm our national economy. All of this points to a clear need for action: the Senate must take urgent action to pass bold gun safety legislation as soon as possible in order to avoid more death and injury,” 220-plus business leaders said in a letter released today. 

“On top of the human toll is a profound economic impact. At a time when our economy is struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence costs American taxpayers, employers and communities a staggering $280 billion per year. Employers lose $1.4 million every day in productivity and revenue, and costs associated with victims of gun violence. Communities that experience gun violence struggle to attract investment, create jobs, and see economic growth,” the letter said.

Signatories include Edelman’s Richard Edelman; WE Communications’ Melissa Waggener Zorkin; WPP’s Mark Read; Bully Pulpit Interactive’s Andrew Bleeker; KWT Global’s Gabrielle Zucker and Aaron Kwittken; LaVoieHealthScience’s Donna LaVoie; MikeWorldWide’s Michael Kempner; Monday Talent’s Jamie McLaughlin; Outside PR’s Jess Fiaschetti; and Small Girls PR’s Mallory Blair. They join business leaders from the likes of Unilever, Bloomberg, Condé Nast, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Levi Strauss, Patagonia, The Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco Giants.

CEOs laid out the gravity of the problem, saying that the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings “represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our country’s gun violence epidemic.

"You have surely seen the statistics: On average, more than 110 people are shot and killed in the United States every day, and more than 200 others are shot and wounded. These shootings happen in homes and at cookouts, in schools and houses of worship, in local businesses and big box stores, and on the streets our children travel every day. Among the affected are our employees, our customers, and the communities we work in. And our kids: guns are now the leading cause of death among children and teens. Each death means another empty chair at the dinner table, another empty seat in the church pew or the classroom, another worker missing on the assembly line.”

There are no specific gun-control proposals included in the letter, the news of which was first reported by Axios.

“We urge the Senate to take immediate action. Gun violence can be prevented. Our families, our communities, and our places of business are depending on you. Stand with us and the American public. Put the safety of your constituents and their children first. Transcend partisanship and work together to pass bold legislation to address gun violence in our country,” it said.