On Friday, Feb. 23, the top trend on Twitter was the call to boycott the National Rifle Association (NRA). Leaders for the gun lobbyist group fueled the fire when they accused the media and Democrats of politicizing the massacre that took place at the Marjory Stoneman High School in Florida.
A Twitter user, with a quarter of a million followers, tagged multiple brands including Hertz Group and LifeLock Inc., NRA partners. Another user tweeted:
There are only 5 million NRA members but over 300 million of us! Business have a choice whose business there prefer.
On Saturday, Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc., two of the largest passenger carriers in the nation, vowed to boycott the NRA. Delta released a statement stating it would be “ending its contract for discounted rates through our group travel program.” The airline is also having its information removed from the NRA website.
United stated it would stop discounting flights for the NRA’s annual meeting. On Friday, Symantec Corp., LifeLock, Simplisafe Inc., Hertz, Avis Budget Group Inc., North American Van Lines, Allied Van Lines, and MetLife Inc. made similar moves against the lobbying group.
The First National Bank of Omaha, which backs the NRA-branded credit card, stated they would not be renewing their contract. Enterprise Holdings Inc., which owns National car rental and Alamo said that effective March 26, they will no longer be participants of the lobbyist group. Wyndham Hotel Group LLC also stated that they would not be affiliated with the NRA any longer.
On Friday, Chubb Limited announced that three months ago they told the lobbying group that they would no longer be participating in the “NRA Carry Guard insurance program.”
Bank of America Corp. released a statement saying they will explore options to help end the mass shootings tragedy. The bank plans to open communications with clients “that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this share responsibility.”
The NRA posted a statement on its website Saturday,
Some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced.
The lobbyist group appeared untouchable before the Marjory Stoneman High School shooting that killed 17 students and teachers. The NRA accepts tens of millions of dollars annually to fight gun regulations under the U.S. Constitution.
The NRA has faced angry mobs before. In 2012, after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting represents another time. However, they have been able to push back against pressure for new gun laws.
What Is Different This Time?
This time the survivors decided to stand up and fight to end these tragic massacres. In general, teenagers do not take “no” for an answer. They have challenged Florida lawmakers, students, and adults across the nation to make a change. This time a student killed people with one of the 10 guns he owned legally. This time students marched on their state capitol building and were armed with questions and statements. This time survivors are putting real pressure on the government to make specific changes and the students have shamed the politicians who take money from the NRA.
None of these protesters want to stop people from owning guns, they want to change the laws so people with mental health issues and are a danger to themselves or society cannot legally purchase a military-style assault weapon designed to kill multiple people.
All of the companies that have turned away from the NRA faced immediate backlash from the supporters of the lobbyist group. They weighed out their options and chose to boycott the NRA.
There are companies that have chosen to stand fast alongside the gun lobbyist group. Companies like FedEx, Apple, Google, Roku, AT&T, and Amazon. Despite pressure, Roku, Apple, Google, Amazon, and AT&T all stream and NRA-produced video channel.
NRA Chief Executive asserted that the answer to mass shootings was to have more armed security officers on school campuses. More guns in the U.S. not restrictions and not fewer assault-style weapons.
There was an armed police officer at the school. He did not even enter the building once the shooting started.
So far, the companies that have decided to boycott the lobbyist group have only caused the NRA to lose some perks of being members. However, if this movement continues to spread, the boycott could threaten the political and financial foundation of the NRA.
Fox News reported that a prominent city council member in Dallas, Texas stated that the city decided not to host the NRA convention in May. Nevertheless, both Nebraska and Kansas are open to hosting the convention.
Others Who Are Standing Against the NRA
Governor Rick Scott of Florida and other lawmakers are in favor of banning sales to anyone under the age of 21. The NRA opposes this ban. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said he would continue to accept political donations from the lobbyist group.
Business Insider said that the NRA is largely funded by the gun industry and that money has helped them build alliances and networks of great power across the political system in the U.S.
Recent negative publicity has caused BlackRock, the investment firm, to find ways for its clients to disinvest from gun companies, according to Bloomberg News. Florida teachers are pushing for their pension fund managers to follow. However, according to CNBC some of the largest exchange-traded funds on Wall Street include holdings in gunmakers. As long as these companies remain prosperous, investors will hesitate to dump gunmakers’ stocks.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, a financial columnist for the New York Times, suggested that banks and credit companies could ban assault weapons by prohibiting customers from using their services to purchase them.
Gunmakers also use credit for purchases. Banks could throttle the purchase of assault weapons from the supply side. Sellers would be cut off from credit card systems, thus, banning assault-style guns across the nation, regardless of the gun-control debate. However, would banks do this?
According to the Chicago Tribune, “In 2012, Snopes investigated a report that Bank of America was cutting off credit lines to gun manufacturers.” A spokeswoman for the bank said there were not any policies that were against doing business with the firearms industry. In fact, the bank made a $250 million deal with a gunmaker the same month.
Today, however, Bank of America is singing a different tune. They are “re-examining” their relationship with AR-15 manufacturers they do business with, at this time. The bank made a statement, “We are joining other companies in our industry to expamine what we can do to help end the tragedy of mass shootings.”
By Jeanette Smith
Bloomberg: Delta and United Join Companies Dumping the NRA
Chicago Tribune: NRA lashes out over boycott movement after United Airlines and Delta cut ties
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