Dear Mr. Bezos:
Gun violence in the workplace is all too common in our country. Indeed, there were 354 gun homicides at American workplaces in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That's about seven gun homicides in the workplace per week.
At the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, we support common-sense gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, making our nation safer. We know that you want Amazon employees to be safe from gun violence. Brady urges you to consider the strength of local and state gun laws -- and the commitment of local authorities to reducing gun violence -- as you choose a location for your second corporate headquarters.
Mass shootings in the workplace make the headlines, but American workplaces also suffer from an epidemic of lesser-publicized gun-related violence. Between 2011 and 2013, nearly half of workplace suicides were committed with a firearm. In 2015, forty-three percent of women who were murdered in the workplace were killed by a relative or domestic partner, most of whom were armed. Employers must also worry about armed individuals in workplace disputes, crimes committed by armed individuals against employees and others in the workplace, and more.
And concerns about gun violence outside of the workplace still have a real impact on companies and, by extension, all workers. There are higher rates of gun violence in states with weak gun laws. The victims of those shootings are often someone's employees and their family members. The human toll is, of course, unacceptable, and the burden imposed on employers--health insurance costs, employee absenteeism, employee stress, and more--can represent a significant financial cost to a company.
States have adopted a wide variety of gun laws for the workplace, many of which actually put employees at greater risk. While some jurisdictions have adopted common sense laws about guns, other states have done the opposite and some localities are actually "preempted" from creating stronger gun laws by their state legislature. For example, over 20 states have laws that prohibit employers from banning guns in employer-owned parking lots. Thirty-one states have not expanded life-saving Brady background checks to every gun sale, which means that convicted felons and domestic abusers have a channel to obtain guns via private purchases. And not all localities are equal when it comes to disrupting known gun trafficking routes that increase the number of illegal guns in the market.
Brady knows that Amazon will consider many factors as it decides where to locate its second corporate headquarters. Please make the strength of local gun laws part of your analysis. Brady has 40 years of experience working to prevent gun violence, and we stand ready to help you assess candidate cities based on the strength of their gun laws.