Thursday’s New York Times’ perennially anti-Second Amendment editorial page ripped the notion of nationwide concealed carry reciprocity just one day after the CEO of Levi Strauss essentially told millions of Americans that he doesn’t want their business if they are legally carrying firearms for personal protection.
On Friday, the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) fired back.
The newspaper doesn’t care at all for the idea that millions of law-abiding American citizens have concealed carry permits and licenses that makes it possible for them to “pack guns in university classes and many public venues.” It also asserted that the effectiveness of carrying concealed for self-defense is a “myth.”
Still, an estimated 14 million-plus people are presently licensed to carry, and there is ample anecdotal evidence that concealed carry has saved lives.
And that goes to the heart of the Levi Strauss dilemma. CEO Chip Bergh issued an open letter stating, “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.”
This was apparently precipitated by a negligent discharge in a Georgia store where the customer was injured but nobody else was.
“We know that the presence of firearms in our stores creates an unsettling environment for many of our employees and customers,” Bergh wrote. “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.”
Concealed carry advocates are already reacting and USCCA founder and President Tim Schmidt was blunt.
“The statements made by both of these organizations (the Times and Levi Strauss) are irresponsible and insulting,” Schmidt said in a statement released to the media. “As responsible, law-abiding gun owners, we know the powerful deterrent effect that responsible gun ownership has on criminals looking to commit acts of violence. You may not need a gun to try on a pair of jeans, but you may need one if a criminal enters the store seeking to harm you and your family. In fact, the CEO of Levi Strauss is suggesting that his stores become voluntary ‘gun free zones.’ We know that these areas can easily make innocent citizens the target of those who are hunting for unarmed victims to prey upon.”
“It is also simply false for the New York Times to describe as a myth the widespread use of concealed weapons in the name of self-defense,” Schmidt added. “Many of our members owe their lives to the fact that they could defend themselves when threatened by a criminal wishing to do them harm. Ask the number of people saved because law-abiding citizens carried concealed weapons whether or not the New York Times is right.”
Gun rights activists are lighting up social media, promising to wear Lee or Wrangler or other brands.