After the Stoneman Douglas school shooting in February, a social media campaign calling for a boycott of the National Rifle Association erupted across the nation. Shortly after, many American companies started to pull their support with the interest group.
The first company to distance itself from the NRA was the First National Bank of Omaha on Thursday, February 22.
A spokesperson of the bank explained that the action was in response to customer feedback against the controversial group. The feedback convinced the bank to conduct a review of its relationship with the NRA, and after careful consideration, the company decided not to renew their existing contract.
After the shocking action of the First National Bank of Omaha larger national brands followed along.
Later that day companies owned by Enterprise Holdings made an announcement on how they would discontinue giving discounts to NRA members. The private, St. Louis-based company owns three rental car agencies including Enterprise Rent- A- Car, Alamo Rent-a-Car, and National Car Rental. The discounts will officially end on March 26.
On February 23, Symantec, the parent company of Norton and LifeLock, ended its discount program as well.
Hertz and MetLife also announced that they would stop their discount programs for NRA members. MetLife specified it will not give members discounts for both home and auto insurance.
Also, SimpliSafe, a home security system company, ended their relationship with the interest group. Avis and Budget Rent a Car announced that they would no longer give discounts on car rentals to NRA members starting on March 26.
Two moving companies, Allied and North American, said they were ending their affiliate relationship with the interest group immediately.
On Friday, February 23, TrueCar, an online automotive information website, said their relationship with the NRA would end in just five days on February 28.
In a move that spawned backlash from the Georgia Legislature, Delta Air Lines ended their discount program alongside United Airline on February 24.
That same day, Paramount RX tweeted that it would stop the third party vendor discounts which offered a program for discounted prescription drugs for NRA members.
On Saturday evening, the hearing device company, Starkey, announced they would end their discount program and asked the NRA to “remove our information from their website”.
All of these companies began severing ties with the NRA due to the public outrage after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. People have been using social media such as Twitter and other customer reviews to influence and pressure the companies to take action against the interest group.
This is the first time such a large amount of companies have publicly and actively went against the NRA.
However, supporters of the interest group have said they will boycott the companies in response to the drop in support. On February 24, the NRA made a public statement announcing that the companies acted “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.”
Even with the public backlash, some companies have continued to offer their discount program and provide a platform for NRA messaging.
In a break from rival shipping giant UPS, FedEx announced it would continue its discount program with NRA members by saying the company “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.”
But, it also took a stance against assault weapons in a statement to Business Insider.
“FedEx opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians,” the company wrote. “While we strongly support the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own firearms subject to appropriate background checks, FedEx views assault rifles and large capacity magazines as an inherent potential danger to schools, workplaces, and communities when such weapons are misused.”
Companies such as AT&T, Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku continue to offer the NRA’s free digital TV channel, NRATV, as apart of their streaming platforms after an online campaign to drop the channel began last month.
Professor Maurice Schweitzer of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business stated in an NPR interview, “We’re in a moment of raw trauma that won’t last. We’ve seen other mass shootings that have spurred campaigns and boycotts in the past and yet, something has changed in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting.”
Only time will tell if this movement will be the final push to make a real difference in gun control. However, this turn of events is a perfect example of how public opinion can make a difference in our democratic society.