USA: More than one dozen companies cut ties with National Rifle Association after 17 people killed in Florida high school shooting

On 14 February 2018, Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle, according to authorities. Following the mass shooting, people have pressured companies to stop providing discounts and perks for National Rifle Association (NRA) members. The NRA released a statement on 24 February 2018 (see below).

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Article
25 March 2018

Citigroup policy prohibits business clients from selling firearms to customers under 21 & those not passing a background check

Author: Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times

"Citigroup sets restrictions on gun sales by business partners," 22 March 2018

Citigroup is setting restrictions on the sale of firearms by its business customers, making it the first Wall Street bank to take a stance in the divisive nationwide gun control debate. The new policy prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. It would apply to clients who offer credit cards backed by Citigroup or borrow money, use banking services or raise capital through the company... Citigroup’s gun policy has “been a while coming,” [said] its chief executive, Michael L. Corbat... “We don’t pretend that these answers are perfect, but as we looked at the things we thought we could influence, we felt that, working with our clients, we could make a difference,” he said. “Banks serve a societal purpose — we believe our investors want us to do this and be responsible corporate citizens.”

... If business customers decline Citigroup’s restrictions, the bank said it would work with them to “transition their business away.” The company declined to name clients or describe the extent of affected partnerships but said that “real revenue is at risk” if relationships fall through and customers protest. Some of Citigroup’s clients, like Walmart, already adhere to the new policies... Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Bank of America declined to comment on whether they had similar plans in the works. [also refers to American Outdoor Brands, BlackRock, First National Bank of Omaha, PNC Financial Services Group, Sturm Ruger, Wells Fargo, YouTube]

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Article
25 March 2018

YouTube to ban videos promoting gun sales

Author: Niraj Chokshi, The New York Times

YouTube said this week that it would... ban videos that promote either the construction or sale of firearms and their accessories... “While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories, specifically, items like ammunition, gatling triggers, and drop-in auto sears,” YouTube said in a statement [about the new policy].

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Article
23 March 2018

Companies amp up support for March for Our Lives

Author: Alison DaSilva, TriplePundit

Americans are looking to businesses to take the lead and address issues outside their transactional footprint – and they are willing to buy and boycott based on those corporate values. Now, in the wake of the tragic Parkland school shooting, gun control is taking center stage...  The call for action is impossible to ignore and brands are responding with a range of actions:

  • Discontinuing NRA member discounts: Dozens of brands including Delta, United, MetLife, First National Bank of Omaha, Symantec, Avis Budget Group, Hertz and Enterprise Holdings took to social media to announce they will be discontinuing their discounts for NRA members. Many cited “customer feedback” as the main cause for distancing themselves from the organization.
  • Changing gun purchasing policies: Walmart (the largest seller of guns in the country), Dick’s Sporting Goods, L.L.Bean* and Kroger announced they will no longer sell guns and high-capacity magazines to anyone under the age of 21. In addition to the policy changes, Dick’s said it will no longer sell assault-style rifles in its stores. 
  • Leveraging Purchasing Power and Dollars to Influence Others: Mountain Equipment Co-op and REI announced that it would suspend future orders from Vista Outdoor, the parent company of CamelBak and Giro, as well as Savage Arms, a manufacturer of AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles.... BlackRock... said it will speak with weapons manufacturers and distributors “to understand their response” to the Florida shooting and is putting pressure on companies such as Sturm Ruger & Company Inc. and American Outdoor Brands Corp.
  • Allying with March For Our Lives: Gucci was one of the first brands to financially support March for Our Lives, donating $500,000. Bumble has also donated to the march and announced it will no longer allow images of guns on its user profiles. 

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Article
7 March 2018

Dick's Sporting Goods co. statement turns a page in CEO activism by making explicit call for gun legislation

Author: Jena McGregor, The Washington Post (USA)

"Dick’s Sporting Goods took a stand on gun sales — and made a big statement," 06 Mar 2018

When Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Edward W. Stack took a stance after the Parkland, Fla., school massacre, most of the attention was on what his retail chain would stop doing: It would no longer sell assault weapons, no longer sell high-capacity magazines and no longer sell guns to customers under age 21. Stack's statement also was notable for what he said he wanted to see done...he outlined specific measures...gun legislation should cover. The memo called for banning assault-style firearms, raising the minimum age for gun purchases, banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, requiring universal background checks including relevant mental-health data and "previous interactions with the law" requiring a database of prohibited buyers, and closing the private-sale and gun show loophole. His explicit call for legislation also turned a page in the recent chapter of CEO activism...and researchers who study the issue cite a couple of reasons CEOs may be more willing to follow Stack and make more-explicit proposals. Meanwhile, as CEOs increasingly speak out on social issues, people may be expecting more from them...people are going to ask the follow-up questions. 

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Article
4 March 2018

BlackRock to offer opportunity to invest in funds that exclude gun manufacturers & retailers

Author: Tom Barnes, Independent (UK)

"BlackRock: Investment giant threatens to pull funds from gunmakers after Florida high school shooting," 3 March 2018

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, will offer its clients the ability to opt out of investing in gun manufacturers in the wake of the deadly Florida high school shooting. The firm, which manages close to $6 trillion (£4.3 trillion) in assets, said on Friday the attack had “driven home the terrible toll from gun violence in America”. "We believe that this event requires response and action from a wide range of entities across both the public and private sectors,” it added in a statement.

The fund manager has posed a series of safety-related questions to firearms producers and threatened to vote against directors at firms it holds a major stake in to enforce change if needed. BlackRock said its clients will also be offered the opportunity to avoid investing in gun makers... Despite BlackRock’s overtures, it has stopped short of saying it will commit to an outright ban on investment in gun manufacturers.

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Article
4 March 2018

REI & Mountain Equipment Co-Op stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties

Author: Meagan Flynn, Washington Post

CamelBak water bottles, Bell bicycle helmets, Giro ski goggles — these products are all  owned by Vista Outdoor, which includes gun and ammo makers among its brands and has a strong connection to the National Rifle Association. And that’s part of the reason REI, a nationwide outdoor retailer and consumer co-op, announced Thursday evening that it would no longer be ordering CamelBak, Bell, Giro or any other of the 50 Vista Outdoor brands to sell in its stores... The company joins others that have taken a stand against military-style weapons and the NRA lobby by discontinuing sales, making it harder to buy weapons or, as in this case, cutting ties in the wake of the Florida school shooting last month that left 17 teenagers and educators dead... REI was at least the second company on Thursday to announce its split from Vista Outdoor products. The other was Mountain Equipment Co-Op, an outdoors equipment retailer that said it had received an overwhelming number of requests from its members to stop helping a gun manufacturer profit by selling its products.

... “REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month,” REI said in a statement. “In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership. … This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.”

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Article
2 March 2018

BlackRock poses tough questions to gunmakers and sellers

Author: Ross Kerber, Reuters

Asset manager BlackRock Inc... is pressing gunmakers and weapons retailers in its portfolios to explain how they monitor firearm sales and use, and it is studying the creation of new index-based portfolios of stocks that would exclude gunmakers and retailers. The moves by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with more than $6 trillion under management, amount to the most detailed critical stance by a big financial firm after last month’s deadly high school shooting in Florida. “As it has for many people, the recent tragedy in Florida has driven home for BlackRock the terrible toll from gun violence in America. We believe that this event requires response and action from a wide range of entities across both the public and private sectors,” BlackRock said in a note to clients posted on its website.

...In its client note, BlackRock said its questions to gunmakers would include whether they require retailers to certify they do background checks and whether they require distributors to disclose regulatory warnings. BlackRock also said it will ask gunmakers whether they monitor if their distributors and retailers "have a high volume of their guns identified as having been used in crimes.”... For retailers, BlackRock said it is asking questions such as what strategies they use to prevent the potential misuse of guns, such as limits on bulk purchases... A representative for American Funds parent Capital Group said via e-mail... that the firm is“engaging with gun manufacturers to understand their plans to ensure the safe use of these products.” [also refers to American Outdoor Brands Corp, Bank of America, State Street Corp & Sturm Ruger & Co]

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Article
2 March 2018

L.L. Bean will no longer sell guns, ammo to those under 21

Author: Brandon Carter, The Hill

L.L. Bean announced Thursday it will no longer sell guns or ammunition to anyone under 21 years of age. The Maine-based outdoors company posted the announcement to its Twitter account in a response to a customer who asked the company to no longer sell guns and ammo to those under 21... The outdoors company joins a host of others increasing the minimum age for gun purchases following last month’s deadly Florida school shooting. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced Wednesday it would no longer sell guns and ammunition to those under 21 years of age. It also pledged to remove items from its website “resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys.” Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the nation’s largest sporting goods retailers, also announced this week it would stop selling assault-style rifles, and Kroger announced Thursday it would no longer sell guns and ammunition in its Fred Meyer stores to those under 21 years of age.

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Article
1 March 2018

Kroger Joins Walmart, Dick’s, Raises Minimum Age for Gun Buyers to 21

Author: Diversity Inc

Kroger said... it will stop selling firearms and ammunition to buyers under the age of 21 at its Fred Meyer stores, becoming the third major U.S. retailer to set restrictions that are tougher than government regulations... “Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers,” Kroger said in an email... “We made the decision [Wednesday] that we will no longer sell assault-style rifles in Alaska nor accept any special orders of these weapons in this market,” a Kroger spokeswoman said.

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Article
28 February 2018

USA: Dick's Sporting Goods will stop selling assault-style rifles

Author: Chris Isidore, CNN Money

Dick's Sporting Goods, the nation's largest sporting goods retailer, will stop selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting. The company said it will also raise the minimum age for all gun sales to 21. Dick's will not sell high-capacity magazines that allow shooters to fire far more rounds than traditional weapons without reloading, as well as other accessories used with weapons similar to the AR-15. The company expects criticism from gun rights advocates as well as loss of sales, Dick's CEO Edward Stack said... But he said he and other executives at the company were moved by the Parkland school shooting survivors' push for gun control measures. "As we sat and talked about it with our management team, it was -- to a person -- that this is what we need to do," he said. "These kids talk about enough is enough. We concluded if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they're doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand."... The company stopped selling those military-style semiautomatic weapons in its Dick's-branded stores after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, but it continued to sell those weapons at its 35 Field and Stream stores. Now it will pull those weapons from all of its stores... The company said it has never sold bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire as if they are automatic weapons. Stack called for a nationwide ban on such items. He also urged Congress to sign into law the restrictions his company has put in place, along with tougher background checks on all gun sales.

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