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
27 February 2018

Commentary: US businesses increasingly taking a stand on social issues in response to public pressure

Author: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

"Why are corporations finally turning against the NRA?" 26 February 2018

After the... high-school massacre in Parkland, Florida, left 17 students and teachers dead, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the nonprofit gun-rights advocacy group, was rebuked by a surprising group of liberal activists: American corporations...Why have the Parkland shootings forced corporate action in a way that previous school shootings could not?... In this case, there has been a perfect storm of articulate student outrage and savvy online activism, merging with a rising tide of resentment against Trump and Trump-affiliated organizations. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School... have joined other activists in naming and shaming companies... [and] encouraging people to contact NRA-sponsoring firms... As more companies canceled their NRA affiliations, it put additional pressure on other companies that had initially resisted doing the same. Within a 12-hour period, Delta Airlines went from defending its relationship with the NRA as “routine” to requesting that the association “remove our information from their website.”.

... Many business leaders are getting political because they have determined that, in this environment, the noisiest position is often to remain silent in the face of national condemnation... In many cases, America’s corporate community has become a quiet defender of socially liberal causes. Nearly 400 companies filed an amicus brief in 2015 urging the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage... Hundreds of executives, many from tech companies, signed a 2017 letter urging the president to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by saving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program... Corporations... have proven to be far more responsive to political outcries and scandals than political parties... National government in an age of Republican control is mostly unresponsive to liberal protests. So, many activists are focusing their ire on the business community. [also refers to Aetna, Amazon, Apple, American Airlines, AT&T, Avis Budget Group, Delta, Disney, Hertz, LifeLock, Merck, MetLife, Uber, United)

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Article
27 February 2018

USA: FedEx rejects calls to stop offering discounts to NRA members

Author: Chris Baynes & Mythili Sampathkumar, The Independent (UK)

"FedEx claim ending NRA member discounts would be 'discrimination'", 27 February 2018

FedEx has rejected calls to stop offering discounts to National Rifle Association (NRA) members, suggesting doing so would “discriminate” against the US gun lobby group. The courier company stressed it did not agree with the NRA’s stance on assault rifles and firearms safety, but said it “has never set or changed rates” based on customers’ “politics, beliefs or positions on issues”...Several major companies, including Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Symantec, and Hertz, have cut ties with the NRA amid growing demands for tighter gun controls since the massacre at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this month...The NRA has rejected calls to restrict sales of semi-automatic weapons, which have been used in several mass shootings in the US...“The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system...or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement,” the firearms lobby group said...“The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms..."

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Article
27 February 2018

USA: Georgia Lt. Governor threatened to eliminate proposed tax breaks for Delta after it ended discounts for NRA members

Author: Richard Fausset & Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times

"In N.R.A. fight, Delta finds that there is no neutral ground," 27 February 2018

In the wake of the Florida school shooting, [Delta] announced it was ending a promotional discount with the National Rifle Association, and suddenly found itself in the rare position of being openly dressed down — and potentially punished — by Republicans who control the statehouse. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of Georgia, a Republican who presides over the State Senate and has received an A-plus grade from the N.R.A., joined other conservative lawmakers this week in threatening to remove a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel that some hoped would encourage Delta to open even more routes... Delta did not respond on Tuesday to Mr. Cagle’s threat or amplify its stance regarding the N.R.A. In a statement over the weekend, the company said its decision to stop offering discounted fares to the N.R.A. “reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings.”... A broader concern, shared by some liberals, conservatives and members of the Georgia business community, is that gun control may now join other hot-button cultural topics that may damage the state’s reputation among national and global corporations that do not adhere to the same conservative Southern values as the state legislature... In the last few years, the legislature has taken up a number of prominent bills that critics say would allow for discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed one of them, a so-called religious liberty bill, in 2016, after some of the state’s most prestigious and powerful companies — including Delta, Home Depot and Coca-Cola — openly opposed the measure.

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Article
26 February 2018

USA: Companies increasingly sever ties with gun lobby after school shooting

Author: Dominic Rushe, The Guardian (UK)

"NRA under mounting pressure as companies cut ties with gun lobby", 23 Feb 2018

US companies are distancing themselves from the National Rifle Association as the gun lobby comes under increasing pressure following the mass shooting in Florida last week. On Friday, Hertz announced it was severing ties with the NRA. The car rental firm had offered discounts to NRA members... The move came after Best Western and Wyndham Hotels, which had offered discounts to NRA members, confirmed they had cut ties with the group after a social media campaign using the hashtag #BoycottNRA targeted them and others...The insurer Chubb has also dropped cover for NRA Carry Guard insurance... Membership of the NRA comes with discounts on goods and services including car rentals, hotels, home insurance and wine. But the companies that provide those services are coming under increasing pressure to step back after the Parkland shooting, which claimed 17 lives...Other companies that have announced they have severed ties include Enterprise Rent–A–Car, which owns Enterprise, Alamo and National, and First National Bank of Omaha, which announced it would end a Visa credit card it offered with NRA branding...The moves are putting pressure on other corporations... On Twitter, people using the hashtag #StopNRAmazon are calling on Amazon to drop the NRA’s video channel from its streaming service.

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Article
25 February 2018

More than one dozen companies ran away from the NRA; includes comment from NRA

Author: CNN Money

"More than one dozen companies ran away from the NRA. Here's how it went down," 25 February 2018

Before last week, membership in the National Rifle Association meant gaining access to a broad range of discounts... But in the wake of a massacre at a Florida high school on Februart 14, activists flooded social media with calls to end corporate partnerships with America's most powerful gun lobby. Since Thursday, more than a dozen brands severed ties with the organization. In a statement, the National Rifle Association called the decisions "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."

... The First National Bank of Omaha said it will stop issuing an NRA-branded Visa card. A bank spokesperson said "customer feedback" prompted a review of its partnership with the NRA... Symantec... has announced it "has stopped its discount program" with the NRA... SimpliSafe, which makes home security systems, "discontinued our existing relationship with the NRA," CEO Chad Laurans said in a statement... Delta Air Lines announced... that it's ending discounted rates for NRA members. "We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website," the company said in a tweet... United Airlines followed a short time later, saying the company will no longer offer discounts on flights to the NRA annual meeting. [also refers to Allied, Avis, Budget Rent a Car, Enterprise, First National Bank of Omaha, MetLife, North American, Paramount RX, Sirva, Starkey & TrueCar]

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Article
24 February 2018

NRA statement on corporate partnerships

Author: National Rifle Association

Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationshipwith the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community... The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all 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... The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.

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Article
24 February 2018

USA: list of companies that have cut ties with NRA following mass shooting in Florida

Author: Jacey Fortin, New York Times (USA)

"A List of the Companies Cutting Ties With the N.R.A.", 24 February 2018

Eight days after a gunman with an AR-15 rifle killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla., a major bank cut ties with the National Rifle Association. The bank, the First National Bank of Omaha, was among the first businesses of at least a dozen to scrap special rates or discounts to the five million people the N.R.A. says it has as members... Supporters and detractors of the N.R.A. have butted heads over the issue on social media, calling on partner companies to either stay put or step away.In a statement on Saturday, the N.R.A. said the companies, “in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice,” were trying to punish its law-abiding members who had nothing to do with the Parkland shooting.The statement added: “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.”...[Companies include] First National Bank of Omaha...Delta Airlines...United Airlines...Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines...Sirva...Avis Budget Group...Hertz...Alamo...Enterprise...National...Starkey Hearing Technologies...MetLife...Chubb...Truecar...Simplisafe...Symantec.

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Article
23 February 2018

Corporate America under pressure to cut ties with NRA

Author: DiversityInc

... The social media-fueled campaign has already led a range of corporations, from a major insurer to three car rental brands, to severe their relationships with the NRA gun rights advocacy group. Amazon.com and other online streaming platforms are facing demands to drop the online video channel NRATV, featuring programming produced by the group. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, founded after the December 2012 Newtown, Conn., school shooting that killed 20 first-graders, sent letters to Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Alphabet’s Google division and Roku on Friday, asking them to drop NRATV from their products. The NRA has not commented on companies severing ties.

... The latest company to distance itself from the NRA was insurer Chubb, which on Friday said it would stop underwriting a controversial NRA-branded insurance policy for gun owners that covers legal costs in self-defense shootings. Symantec Corp said on Friday it ended a program with the NRA offering discounts for its LifeLock identity theft product. MetLife also said on Friday it would end discounts it previously offered to NRA members... About 22 corporations nationwide offer incentives to NRA members, according to ThinkProgress.com, a news site owned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The hashtag #BoycottNRA was the number one trending topic on Twitter on Friday morning, as users took to the website to call for corporations to end gun lobby deals as a boycott against the organization. The NRA has fiercely opposed restrictions on ownership of firearms, including the type of semi-automatic weapon used in the Parkland, Fla., shooting. [also mentions BlackRock, Enterprise, First National Bank of Omaha]

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Article
22 February 2018

BlackRock puts gunmakers on notice after Florida school shooting

Author: Ross Kerber & Trevor Hunnicutt, Reuters

The world’s largest asset manager put U.S. gunmakers on notice on Thursday that it is no longer business as usual in the wake of a shooting that killed 17 at a Florida high school. BlackRock Inc said it will speak with weapons manufacturers and distributors “to understand their response” to the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history, putting pressure on companies such as Sturm Ruger & Company Inc and American Outdoor Brands Corp. BlackRock is the largest shareholder in both gunmakers and has more than $6 trillion in assets under management. It stopped short of saying it would divest its funds of gun companies, however... BlackRock said it cannot sell shares of a company in an index, given its fiduciary responsibilities. Instead, “We focus on engaging with the company and understanding how they are responding to society’s expectations of them,” BlackRock spokesman Ed Sweeney said in an email... Representatives for American Outdoor Brands and Sturm Ruger did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

New Jersey legislators on Thursday said they plan to introduce bills to bar state pension funds from investing in gun manufacturers.

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