TOMS shoe company takes a stand on gun violence

Blake Mycoskie started TOMS 12 years ago with a very simple idea. He said every time we sell a pair of shoes, we'll give a pair to a child in need,  one for one.

But today, Blake, the founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS has a new mission: ending gun violence in our country, together.

Blake says the shooting in Thousand Oaks near both his home and his office, pushed TOMS to enter the fight to end gun violence.

Blake says gun violence has become an epidemic in our country, so TOMS decided as a business and as a company that's all about making a better tomorrow, to take a bold stand.

In November just days after the shooting in Thousand Oaks, Blake announced on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that TOMS was donating $5 million to the organizations working hard on the ground to end gun violence.

It's the single largest corporate gift to end gun violence in the history of the United States.

Blake also launched a campaign on that sends postcards to local representatives asking for universal background checks.

Jimmy Fallon was the first person to send a postcard, doing it live on The Tonight Show.

Blake says he had no idea how many other Americans would join in. He thought 50,000 would be a huge number.

They had 50,000 postcards in the first few hours alone.

TOMS quickly collected over 700,000 postcards, which Blake plans to deliver on the steps of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Blake says universal background checks will prevent three groups of people from buying guns: felons, people with a history of domestic abuse, and people with a history of mental illness.

But he says, this is not about taking guns away.

Blake grew up hunting in Texas. He says he loves guns and is 100 percent pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment.

What happens, he says, when people hear anything around guns, is that they assume their guns are going to be taken away and that's why there's been no progress.

The move TOMS is making is a risky one for a consumer-facing business, but it has already had a surprising payoff.

Blake says sales have actually increased since the announcement.

He had no idea that would happen.

If anything, he says, they were a little bit nervous that people would think TOMS was getting into politics and say they were done with the brand.

But, that hasn't been the case.

Blake says they've seen more and more people going to the TOMS website, filling out a postcard, and buying a pair of shoes, especially guys.

He says they've added male customers since the announcement.

When you take bold action, in an authentic and immediate way, Blake says, you'll be rewarded.