They may not be baseball, or apple pie, but Levi’s jeans are pretty damn all-American, as far as denim brands go.
But are they more American than, say, guns?
Evidently not—at least, not for the growing chorus of gun owners who have loudly proclaimed their intent to boycott the century-and-a-half old clothing company, after its CEO asked customers to please leave their guns at home while shopping at his stores
“Providing a safe environment to work and shop is a top priority for us at Levi Strauss & Co,” company President and CEO (and former Army officer) Chip Bergh wrote on LinkedIn earlier this week. “That imperative is quickly challenged, however, when a weapon is carried into one of our stores.”
Citing a recent incident in which a customer was injured after the gun they were carrying was accidentally fired in a Levi’s store, Bergh concluded that, “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.”
Not getting shot while trying on a pair of 501s may seem like a reasonable request, but Bergh’s announcement prompted an immediate backlash from gun rights advocates who, evidently, can’t fathom the possibility of picking out a new jean jacket unless they’re packing heat.
Though this is ostensibly a conflict over guns and denim, for some of the people hopping on the boycott wagon, there seems to be, uh, something else going on here.
Efforts to reach Levi’s for comment were not immediately returned. However, as Bergh himself wrote: “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.”
Or, to put it another way: How many guns does a person need to buy some pants, anyway?