As protests rise against the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the aftermath of the shooting at Parkland High School, several businesses have said that they are ending their partnerships with the gun advocacy group.
These decisions are largely in response to tweets demanding change under the trending hashtag, #BoycottNRA. First National Bank of Omaha got the ball rolling on Thursday, February 22, when it announced via tweet that it “will not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA Visa Card.” Rental car companies hopped on board the next day, with tweets coming from Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise, National Car Rental, and Hertz, denouncing their rental car discount program with the NRA. On Saturday, February 24, Delta and United Airlines joined in, announcing via tweet that they are discontinuing their discounted rates for NRA members.
Companies involved in the sale of guns have also taken a stance. On February 28, just two weeks after the Parkland shooting, Edward Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, announced that the company is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles, raising the minimum age for gun purchasers to 21, and will no longer sell high-capacity magazines.
After learning that the gunman behind the Parkland shootings had purchased a firearm from the retailer last November, Stack and his colleagues at Dick’s believed that action was necessary, citing that “thoughts and prayers are not enough.” In a statement issued on February 28, Stack echoed and commemorated the activism of the high school students who survived the Parkland shooting, saying “We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country.”
That same day, Walmart announced that it is also raising the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21. With these moves, Dick’s and Walmart join a number of companies that have made policy changes in response to the Parkland shooting.
These actions have not been without controversy. For instance, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle threatened to “kill any tax legislation that benefits” Delta Air Lines after the company ended its relationship with the NRA. Several other Twitter users have vowed to take their business elsewhere from companies who have cut ties with the NRA.
When asked about such pushback amongst gun rights advocates, Stack acknowledged that the move “isn’t going to make everyone happy,” but recognized that companies must be “brave enough” to make changes for what they believe in.