Companies Are Starting to Back Away From the Gun Industry and NRA

Illinois gun owners and supporters file out National Rifle Association applications while participating in an Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day convention before marching to the Illinois state Capitol in Springfield Il

AWR Hawkins22 Feb 20180 22 Feb 2018 22 Feb 2018

MetLife, the giant NY life insurer, also said Friday it has canceled its NRA group discount program.

The First National Bank of Omaha also ended its business relationship with the NRA, announcing earlier this week that it would end its contract to issue NRA-branded credit cards.

Rent-a-car giants including Enterprise, Alamo, National, Avis, and Budget, plus Lifelock and First National Bank of Omaha will remove themselves from the NRA benefits program by the end of next month.

The five million-member NRA has partnerships with dozens of businesses, ranging from vehicle rentals to hotels, and even offers a branded credit card.

ThinkProgress, a website run by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress Action Fund, seems to have catalyzed the online fervor against the NRA.

The social media-fueled campaign has led a range of corporations, from a major insurer to three auto rental brands, to sever relationships with the gun rights advocacy group.

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"There is a possibility we could see other companies in many industries do the same thing", said Tim Bajarin, president of San Jose-based tech consultancy Creative Strategies.

Vague said he was at first attracted by the prospect of selling cards to millions of gun owners, and had to be convinced to take a pass by other, more "morally resolute" colleagues. For the last decade, the bank has issued an NRA-branded card that gives a cash-back bonus equivalent to the association's annual membership fee.

On Friday, Symantec announced in a terse statement on Twitter that it had also ended its discount program with the gun-rights organization. "#NRABloodOnYourHands." The bank said "customer feedback" spurred it to review its relationship with the NRA.

The company uses discount programs with many organizations to market to large groups of consumers, including AAA Northeast.

This article was updated February 22 at 3:00 pm to reflect that Avis Budget Group no longer has a partnership with the NRA.

On its website the NRA says, "It pays to be a member!"

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By Friday morning, Symantec had made a similar announcement.

Proponents of the NRA have also used the hashtag #BoycottNRA to express support for the group.

The swiftness of the corporate reaction against the NRA has differed from that of past shootings, including the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that claimed 26 lives and the killing of 58 people in Las Vegas last fall, said Bob Spitzer, a political scientist at SUNY Cortland and a scholar on gun politics.

A spokesperson for moving van lines Allied and North American, which are both owned by Sirva, said Friday that the brands "no longer have an affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately".

Trump raised the idea on Wednesday of arming teachers, drawing a mixed reaction in a country where the right to bear arms is protected by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution and there are fierce divisions on how to curb mass shootings and everyday gun violence. Profits helped to boost the privately owned bank's expansion in the credit card business, until the NRA's reputation became too hot for the bank to continue.

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