Many businesses have cut ties with the National Rifle Association in the wake of a school shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Many of the High School’s students and parents have reignited the discussion of gun control nationwide when they began expressing their views over social media and public events in Florida. These students have not only taken a stand against what they feel is lax gun control legislation, but have also questioned legislators who accept monetary donations from the NRA.
In a CNN town hall, Parkland high school students questioned Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida regarding his connections with the organization.
“Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future,” Cameron Kasky, a junior, asked the senator.
Rubio refused to answer Kasky’s question, attempting to divert the conversation to his stances on gun control instead. According to federal campaign finance records, Rubio has received more than 3 million dollars from the organization over the course of his political career.
This town hall prompted nationwide discussion pertaining to the NRA’s support of political candidates. Additionally, companies with members-only deal partnerships with the NRA were encouraged by customers and activists alike to sever ties with the organization or face a boycott of their business.
Businesses such as Enterprise Holdings Inc., Hertz Global Holding Inc., TrueCar Inc., Metlife Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Inc., The Kroger Corporation, L.L. Bean, and Recreational Equipment Inc., as well as many others have already severed ties with the organization in wake of these threatened boycotts.
In related news, Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the leading sporting goods retailers in the United States, has also stated that they will be ending the sale of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines in their stores, and will no longer be selling firearms to persons under the age of 21. The company will also discontinue sale of high-powered rifles, including AR-15s, at their stores nationwide.
Walmart has also raised the minimum age for purchasing a rifle to 21, and said in a statement that they will be discontinuing the sale of toys resembling assault-style rifles, including air guns as well.
Despite the stances these businesses have taken, the NRA and its supporters have made it very clear that they are unfazed.
The NRA asserts that their members are not to blame for the atrocities that have sparked this debate. Instead, the organization attributes the Parkland shooting to “the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System” and “the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.”
They NRA recently said in a Tweet, “the loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member.”
The Georgia state legislature recently passed a bill which removed a 50 million dollar tax break on jet fuel, which was targeted at Delta Airlines, who are headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, after the airline announced the discontinuing of a discount for NRA members.
“Businesses have every legal right to make their own decisions, but the Republican majority in our state legislature also has every right to govern by our principles,” said Georgia’s Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, in an interview on “Fox and Friends,” regarding his state’s lawmaker’s reaction to Delta Airlines recent break from the NRA.
Recreational Equipment Inc., also known as REI, a popular outdoor equipment coop has gone one step further than other retailers and is currently examining its relationships with gun manufacturers who also sell outdoor equipment in their stores.
“We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work toward common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month,” REI said in a statement released after placing a hold on orders from brands owned by Vista Outdoor such as Bell and Camelback because Vista also owns Savage Arms, an American firearm company, “Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.”
As more companies discontinue their relationships with the NRA or impose restrictions on guns sold at their premises it will be telling how Federal and State Governments react, and with the 2018 midterm elections coming in November with Republican and Democratic primaries having already begun, gun control is likely to be an important issue on voters’ minds as they head to the polls this year.