[Issue 049] Let's talk about #BoycottNRA
I have to be honest: I really wanted to avoid covering the gun debate in ABL. I find coverage of mass shootings in the US and the inevitable anti-gun control arguments that follow deeply upsetting.
So I was hoping we'd go through the usual news cycle on this issue and I'd eventually have something else to cover in this week's newsletter. (That probably goes to tell you how much faith I have in changes in this country around gun laws.)
However, that didn't quite happen.
The bright side is that between the dynamic young people from Parkland, Florida and the incredible momentum that the #BoycottNRA movement gained in the past week, I'm feeling a little bit hopeful that this time is different. That something may in fact change.
Over the past week, the NRA's corporate partners have been dropping like flies. I've been tracking the list through Think Progress, which has been updating this handy dandy image to make our lives simple.
The latest as of 6pm on Feb 27th:
The first company to respond to the pressure last week was First National Bank of Omaha, which announced last Thursday that due to customer feedback they would not renew their contract for NRA Visa Cards.
The list then started growing quickly, with Avis, Hertz, MetLife, Symantec and many more companies making announcements that they were also severing ties with the NRA.
Delta was actually one of the first to make headlines for resisting taking a stance, but within a few hours leadership caved into the pressure. Now the company is facing Republican retaliation in Georgia.
The NRA has of course clapped back, releasing a statement:
"Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world."
As far as companies that have not sided with #BoycottNRA, FedEx is the most notable. The company doesn't believe it should do anything differently because the NRA is one of hundreds of organizations in their program for offering members discounted rates.
In a statement released on Monday, it says that 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.”
The company further updated its statement today to make it clear that FedEx has never provided any donations or sponsorship to the NRA.
If you're interested in a full list of companies that participate in the NRA's membership benefits program, an activist group called Boycott NRA Partners, compiled this thorough Google Doc.
Activists have also turned their focus on the companies that provide the NRA with a platform, specifically the tech companies that stream NRATV.
So far Roku defended the NRA's right to distribute its content so long as they don't violate company policies. However there have been no responses from the other companies as yet.
At the end of the day, while these company decisions to stop providing NRA's members with discounts and benefits feel relatively minor (to me at least), I think the momentum it has created in the gun reform debate can't be ignored.
At minimum, it has demonstrated that the NRA is not a completely undefeatable giant.
And that gives me some hope. Even if the change is one small step at a time.
As I mentioned last week, I have an exciting announcement to make: I'd like to introduce you to Lora, Above the Bottom Line's very first intern!
- Her last name is pronounced Shh-paul.
- Her dream is to be an independent designer who creates body positive and gender accepting lingerie.
- Her superpower is her strong will.
You can learn more about Lora and why she's passionate about Above the Bottom Line here on our Patreon page.
Be sure to leave her comment on the post or shoot her a welcome note at firstname.lastname@example.org! ❤️
It's important to note that I was able to hire Lora due to the financial support of ABL's patrons! So, thank you!
Why Are Corporations Finally Turning Against the NRA? "In this case, there has been a perfect storm of articulate student outrage and savvy online activism, merging with a rising tide of resentment against Trump and Trump-affiliated organizations." // ATLANTIC
Wall Street May Be Rethinking Its Relationship With Guns. A look into how the financial services industry is responding to calls for gun reform. Most interestingly, to me, is the data on which public teacher retirement funds are invested in firearms makers. Also, as a shareholder activism nerd, I am heartened to see that there are already three proposals filed at sellers or makers of guns in the current proxy season // BLOOMBERG
Related: Florida Teachers’ Pension Fund Invested in Maker of School Massacre Gun // BLOOMBERG
Supporters of stricter gun laws are less likely to contact elected officials. Came across this during my research, and it was quite an eye opener for me. Among the heavy hitting insights is the fact that "Americans who believe gun laws should be less strict are more likely to contact public officials on the issue than those who think gun laws should be stricter or are about right." I'm committing to do better, especially this election season. // PEW RESEARCH
Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years. Dropping this gem here because we can't (1) conclude this discussion on gun reform or (2) leave Black History Month without talking about who is being left out of this conversation. A must-read. // TEEN VOGUE