Chip BerghImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Levi Strauss boss Chip Bergh was one of the signatories

The leaders of 145 US companies have sent a letter urging Congress to enact stricter gun laws as pressure builds on lawmakers to respond to gun violence.

The letter calls on Congress to expand background checks and create new ways to prevent access to firearms.

It follows mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio that left dozens dead.

Signatories included dozens of tech companies, such as Airbnb and Uber, as well as media and financial firms.

Also signing his name was Joshua Kushner, head of Thrive Capital and brother to Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor.

“Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable,” the business chiefs wrote in the letter. “There are steps Congress can, and must, take to prevent and reduce gun violence.”

An average of 100 people a day are shot and killed in the US. Polls have shows that nearly half of all Americans expect another mass shooting to happen soon.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A spate of deadly mass shootings has stoked fresh debate about gun control

Businesses have long avoided the controversial subject, but in recent years a spate of high-profile attacks at schools and festivals have pushed them into the debate.

Retailers, including most recently Walmart, have limited or banned gun sales and asked the public not to carry weapons openly in their stores even where legally permitted.

In Wednesday’s letter, the business chiefs from companies such as Levi Strauss, Pinterest, Bain Capital, Gap and Brookfield Property Group, called the situation an “urgent public health crisis”.

“Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,” they wrote.

It remains unclear whether Congress will act.

This week, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives took up bills that seek to remove guns from people deemed a risk, ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and prohibit people convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors from possessing firearms.

But the Senate, which has a Republican majority, has stayed quiet on the subject, and US President Donald Trump has waffled on his position.

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