In what may be a pivotal moment for American gun law reform, the National Rifle Association has become a primary target for anti-gun activists and survivors of last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.
All the attention prompted the gun-rights group to break from its usual strategy of keeping quiet after mass gun deaths. NRA officials have gone on the attack to rail against the “politicization” of a tragedy, and to grotesquely suggest that members of the media “love” mass shootings.
The uproar is once again confronting companies affiliated with the NRA and its powerful pro-gun lobby with a question: To cut ties, or to continue a relationship with a large but controversial group?
The NRA partners with dozens of businesses to spread its pro-gun message and provide discounts to its members, who number 5 million, according to the group. But this week, some companies have begun to jump ship.
Facing pressure from consumers, the First National Bank of Omaha said Thursday it would stop issuing NRA-branded Visa credit cards after its contract with the group expires. Enterprise Holdings, which operates rental car brands Enterprise, National and Alamo, will end its discount program for NRA members next month, along with both Avis and Budget. Hertz is out, too.
Other companies ditching the NRA include: Chubb, which underwrites the NRA’s Carry Guard firearms insurance; Symantec’s LifeLock, an identity-theft prevention service, and Norton, which offers computer security software; home security system provider SimpliSafe; Allied and North American Van Lines, two moving services; and MetLife, which provided home and auto insurance to NRA members.
“We value all our customers but have decided to end our discount program with the NRA,” a MetLife spokesman said in a statement.
These companies, however, are sticking by the gun-rights group:
Amazon continues to offer the NRA TV app, allowing anyone with a Fire TV or certain game controllers to watch the NRA’s television channel, despite calls from high-profile activists to drop the content.
Everytown and Moms Demand Action, two gun safety groups, joined forces to launch a campaign Friday demanding streaming services stop offering NRA TV.
“NRA TV is home to the NRA’s most dangerous and violence-inciting propaganda,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said in a statement. “It’s time for tech leaders to acknowledge their role in helping the NRA spread this dangerous content and cut it out.”
The NRA TV app is also available on Apple TV. The company did not immediately return a request for comment.
AT&T also offers NRA TV through its Direct TV service. The company did not immediately return a request for comment.
Clearent, a credit card processing company, offers “firearms friendly” services aimed at NRA members. A representative did not immediately return a request for comment.
FedEx offers NRA members discounts from 18 percent to 26 percent on domestic and international shipping. A page on the NRA website detailing FedEx offers has been removed, but the shipping company has not made a statement about any change in its relationship with the gun-rights group.
GunsDown, an anti-gun group, has been petitioning FedEx to end its affiliation with the NRA for more than a year.
NRA TV is also available through Google’s Chromecast. The company did not immediately return a request for comment.
Harland Clarke Direct Selling Solutions
Harland Clarke offers NRA-branded checks to members. The company did not return a request for comment.
The company powers the NRA’s travel discount site, offering savings on airfare and hotel reservations with major chains including Best Western, Mariott, Hampton Inn and others. HotelPlanner intends to honor its contract with the NRA.
“Our company provides discounted rooms to several large associations, including the NRA. These associations greatly benefit our customers by buying discounted rooms from groups that might otherwise be charged a penalty by hotels for not using all of the rooms in their block,” HotelPlanner CEO Tim Hentschel said in a statement. “Many of our groups are charity events, weddings, family reunions, and youth sports teams, so saving these groups that are on a budget from any unforeseen expense is our number one priority at HotelPlanner.com.”
NRA members can purchase firearms insurance through Lockton Affinity, a group insurance provider. The company did not return a request for comment.
ManageUrID aims to prevent personal information from being spread online and offers unspecified savings to NRA members. It did not return a request for comment.
MidwayUSA offers a wide variety of outdoor goods including camping gear, all-weather clothing and, yes, firearms.
“No company in America is more dedicated to, and more supportive of, the goals of the National Rifle Association than MidwayUSA,” it states on its website.
Through NetSpend, gun rights supporters can buy prepaid NRA-branded Visa debit cards. The company said it is currently reviewing its relationship with the NRA.
Visa, meanwhile, said in a statement this week that its co-branded cards “do not represent an endorsement by Visa of that cause or organization.”
“We strive to make our payment services available to all people in all places, for uses consistent with local, national, and international laws,” a Visa spokeswoman said.
Roku is another video streaming device that makes NRA TV available to viewers. A Roku spokeswoman said the company is “deeply saddened” by the Florida shooting.
“We operate an open streaming platform” that allows customers to choose from thousands of entertainment, news and special interest channels, the spokeswoman said. “However our content policies prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, invites illegal activities or violates third-party rights, among other things. If we determine that a channel violates these policies, it will be removed.”
TrueCar powers a site for unspecified discounts on new and used cars for NRA members. The company did not return multiple requests for comment.
Vinesse operates a variety of wine clubs. The NRA has claimed its American Cellars Wine Club (the company’s flagship) as its official group. Vinesse did not return a request for comment.
Wild Apricot, a management software provider, offers NRA members a free 30-day trial. A page for NRA members appears to have been pulled from the company’s website. A representative did not immediately return a request for comment.
NRA TV is also available on YouTube, which operates a three-strikes policy on channels that violate its terms and conditions. A representative did not return a request for comment.
Also: Various local businesses
The NRA Business Alliance (aka “the business of freedom”) maintains a directory of local businesses that support the group. Organized by state and business type, entrants include sporting goods stores, gun ranges, legal services, security companies and insurance providers. But it appears any type of business can apply to be included in the directory ― the White Oak Grille in Coatesville, Missouri, claims a spot.
A number of firearms dealers have also opted into the NRA’s Round Up Program, which rounds purchases up to the next dollar and donates the difference to the NRA’s informational efforts.
Please check back for updates.