Companies are abandoning their corporate affiliation with the National Rifle Association in droves following a massive outpouring of outrage over the Parkland school mass shooting, in which 17 people died from AR-15 gunfire.
The latest companies to announce their departure from deals with the NRA are Delta and United airlines. Both companies said on Saturday via Twitter that they would end their contracts with the NRA for discounted rates on services.
Delta, the largest U.S.–based airline, said it had informed the NRA it was ending a contract for discounted rates through a group travel program. Delta asked the NRA to remove its company’s information from the NRA website.
Shortly after that, United announced it would no longer offer discounts on the NRA’s annual meeting, and it also asked the gun lobbyist to remove the airline’s name from its website.
That brings the number of companies that have ditched the NRA to at least 17, less than 10 days after the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The attack was carried out by a disturbed 19–year–old armed with a high–powered assault rifle. Most of the company announcements abandoning the NRA have been made in the past few days.
The backlash against the gun lobbying group—and politicians who accept NRA money—has been fueled by an outspoken group of Douglas High students, who rallied the nation behind the need to stop gun violence, using the phrase #NeverAgain. The impact of the resistance movement started by these teenagers has been unprecedented in the U.S., where mass shootings normally disappear quickly from national conversation, thanks in large part to the NRA and other pro–gun groups.
This time, however, companies that previously had been affiliated with the NRA are realizing the need to be on the right side of history.
As ThinkProgress noted:
Much like AARP or AAA, the organization promotes its discounts for members as a selling point for why people should join. The “valuable 5-star benefits” promised include not just a subscription to an NRA magazine and a gun-owner liability protection policy but also savings on insurance, identity theft protection, hearing aids, car rentals, moving vans, shipping, and even wine. While some of these perks are provided by in-house subsidiaries, many are offered through corporate partners — including some household names.
On Thursday, First National Bank of Omaha said it would stop issuing an NRA–branded Visa credit card, citing complaints from customers.
Other companies joining the boycott include MetLife; Enterprise, Alamo, National, Hertz, Avis, and Budget rental car agencies; Symantec, which develops and sells Norton anti–malware software; SimpliSafe, a home security company; Teladoc, a telemedicine service; and software company Wild Apricot, among others.
Online petitions under hashtags like #BoycottNRA and groups like Moms Demand Action continue calling for remaining companies affiliated with the NRA to dump their contracts. One remaining target for the boycott is NRATV, the gun lobby’s main media arm.
According to Moms Demand Action, NRATV “propagates dangerous misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric that pits Americans against each other and furthers their agenda of guns anywhere, for anyone, no questions asked.” The programs are streamed on platforms by AppleTV, Google’s Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku—all currently targets of the boycott campaign. The hashtag for that effort is #DumpNRATV.
As of this writing, FedEx also has not announced it will drop its affiliation with the NRA, despite heavy pressure from customers on social media.
Update: The NRA has issued a statement calling the decision by several companies to cancel their contracts with the gun lobby group a “shameful display of political and civil cowardice.”
The statement said:
The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.
Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.