In what may be a pivotal moment for American gun law reform, the National Rifle Association has become the object of intense pushback from anti-gun activists and survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.
All the attention prompted the gun-rights group to break from its usual strategy of keeping quiet after mass gun deaths. NRA officials have gone on the attack to rail against the “politicization” of a tragedy, and going so far as to suggest that members of the media “love mass shootings” because of the ratings they supposedly bring.
The uproar has once again presented companies affiliated with the NRA, and its powerful pro-gun lobby, with a question: to cut ties, or to continue a relationship with a large but controversial group?
The NRA partners with dozens of businesses to spread its pro-gun message and provide discounts to its members, who number 5 million, according to the group. But since the shooting, some companies have begun to jump ship.
Facing pressure from consumers, the First National Bank of Omaha said last week it would stop issuing NRA-branded Visa credit cards after its contract with the group expires. Enterprise Holdings, which operates the rental car brands Enterprise, National and Alamo, says it will end its discount program for NRA members next month, along with Avis and Budget. Hertz is out, too.
Other companies ditching the NRA include Chubb, which underwrites the NRA’s Carry Guard firearms insurance meant to protect firearms owners involved in self-defense shootings; Symantec’s LifeLock, an identity-theft prevention service, and Norton, which offers computer security software; home security system provider SimpliSafe; Allied and North American Van Lines, two moving services; TrueCar, which powered a new and used car site; and MetLife, which had offered savings on home and auto insurance to NRA members.
“We value all our customers but have decided to end our discount program with the NRA,” a MetLife spokesman said in a statement.
On Friday, software company Wild Apricot said it had asked the NRA to remove its logo from the organization’s website. “We have contacted the NRA directly and asked them to remove our logo and the affiliated text, as they were actually using that without permission from us,” a spokesperson told ThinkProgress.
After initially defending discounts for NRA members traveling to Dallas in May for the group’s annual convention, both Delta and United announced plans to end their respective relationships with the NRA Saturday. Starkey Hearing Technologies, which offered savings on hearing aids for members, also stated it would not renew its contract with the NRA.
A representative for Harland Clarke, which prints NRA-branded checks, said Sunday the company “intends to terminate” its contract with the group.
Late Monday, insurance provider Lockton Affinity announced that it will no longer partner with the NRA on its Carry Guard insurance.
The following companies, however, have not indicated that they plan to sever ties with the gun-rights group:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s
Along with Cabela’s, which it acquired in 2017, Bass Pro Shops offers a wide variety of outdoor gear, and both stores are set to appear at the NRA’s national convention in May. A company spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Clearent, a credit card processing company, offers “firearms friendly” services geared toward NRA members. A representative did not respond to a request for comment.
FedEx offers NRA members discounts from 18 percent to 26 percent on domestic and international shipping.
The company said Monday in a statement that it doesn’t agree with the organization’s views on assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, but that it won’t eliminate its discount for NRA members.
“The NRA is one of hundreds of organizations in our alliances/association Marketing program whose members receive discounted rates for FedEx shipping,” it said. “FedEx has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs, or positions on issues.”
In a follow-up statement issued Tuesday, the shipping company clarified that it “has never provided any donation or sponsorship to the NRA which is one of hundreds of alliance and association participants that serve more than one million customers.”
GunsDown, an anti-gun group, has been petitioning FedEx to end its affiliation with the NRA for over a year.
The company powers the NRA’s travel discount site, offering savings on airfare and hotel reservations with major chains including Best Western, Mariott, Hampton Inn and others. HotelPlanner intends to honor its contract with the NRA.
“Our company provides discounted rooms to several large associations, including the NRA. These associations greatly benefit our customers by buying discounted rooms from groups that might otherwise be charged a penalty by hotels for not using all of the rooms in their block,” HotelPlanner CEO Tim Hentschel said in a statement. “Many of our groups are charity events, weddings, family reunions, and youth sports teams, so saving these groups that are on a budget from any unforeseen expense is our number one priority at HotelPlanner.com.”
Hyatt Regency (Dallas)
The Hyatt Regency hotel in Dallas will host NRA events during the group’s annual convention in May. A representative did not return a request for comment.
ManageUrID, which aims to prevent personal information from being spread online, offers unspecified savings to NRA members. It did not respond to a request for comment.
MidwayUSA offers a wide variety of outdoor goods, including camping gear, all-weather clothing and firearms.
“No company in America is more dedicated to, and more supportive of, the goals of the National Rifle Association than MidwayUSA,” it states on its website.
Through NetSpend, gun rights supporters can buy prepaid NRA-branded Visa debit cards. The company said it is reviewing its relationship with the NRA.
Visa, meanwhile, said in a statement this week that its co-branded cards “do not represent an endorsement by Visa of that cause or organization.”
“We strive to make our payment services available to all people in all places, for uses consistent with local, national, and international laws,” a Visa spokeswoman said.
Omni’s Dallas outpost will host events put on by the NRA as part of its national convention in May. A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Sirius airs a show from NRA TV called “Cam & Co” on its conservative Patriot station, where host Cam Edwards discusses current events in terms of how they might affect gun rights. A company spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
Vinesse operates a variety of wine clubs. The NRA has claimed its American Cellars Wine Club (the company’s flagship) as its official group. Vinesse did not respond to a request for comment.
NRA TV is also available on YouTube, which operates a “three strikes” policy on channels that violate its terms and conditions. A representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Also: Various local businesses
The NRA Business Alliance maintains a directory of local businesses that support the group. Organized by state and business type, they include sporting goods stores, legal services, security companies and insurance providers. It appears any type of business can apply to be included in the directory ― the White Oak Grille in Coatesville, Missouri, for example, claims a spot.
Please check back for updates.
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