By Ramsey Cox
Connecticut lawmakers called on the nation’s largest retailers to support gun control reform measures by banning customers from carrying guns into their stores.
Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Congress sends first major opioid bill to Obama's desk Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle MORE and Chris MurphyChris MurphyWeek ahead in health: All eyes turn to Dem convention Overnight Healthcare: Mysterious new Zika case | Mental health bill in doubt | Teletraining to fight opioids Hopes dim for mental health deal MORE, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty sent a letter on Friday to the 10 largest retailers and the National Retail Federation asking them to help reduce gun violence.
The lawmakers said their letter was partially prompted by a report last month that a loaded gun was left in the toy aisle of a South Carolina Target store. They also said there's been at least 79 shootings in Wal-Marts since the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., left 20 schoolchildren dead.
The Democrats pointed out that Starbucks and Chipotle have already prohibited customers from bringing guns into stores.
“We urge the membership of the National Retail Federation to consider voluntary measures retailers can take immediately to reduce gun violence and ask that you stand with us by officially endorsing S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 and bipartisan amendments to it that would have reduced gun violence,” the letter stated.
Last year, the Senate attempted to pass stricter gun control laws, such as universal background checks on all gun sales, but the measure was five votes short of overcoming procedural hurdles. The National Rifle Association lobbied against the legislation.
“Help our constituents and your shoppers get the five votes necessary to pass out of the Senate bipartisan measures to reduce gun violence,” the lawmakers wrote. "Join us in working towards a safer America.”