Mass shooting serves as catalyst for corporate change against NRA

Mackenzie Clarke , Managing Editor

Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Feb. 14, a movement protesting the National Rifle Association (NRA) has gained momentum in the business world. As of March 12, more than 20 major companies and conglomerates severed ties with the NRA, including Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Metlife Insurance. Many of these corporate decisions have been made aft mounting pressure from users on Twitter asking companies why they are affiliated with the NRA.
The NRA, gun and Second-Amendment rights advocacy group, has become increasingly involved many major major campaigns. During the 2016 Election cycle, the NRA spent $54 million funding Republicans in Congress. Because of this relationship, the interests of the group continue to be represented and protected governmentally. In addition, the NRA has continued to become a household-name, representing the anti-gun control movement in many people’s’ minds.
Prior to the Fla. shooting, NRA members could gain access to a number of discounts with these companies including cheaper flights, auto insurance policies, discounted hotel rooms and more. However, the recent shooting has spurred these corporations to cut ties with the gun-lobby group.
NRA supporters were quick to voice opposition to gun control legislation in the wake of the Parkland shooting. The group’s inextricable link to a large number of America’s lawmakers and companies further strengthens its political and economic force in the country. Because of the organization’s popularity and influence, many conservative lawmakers understand that supporting gun control could hurt their campaign. The NRA goes so far as to ‘grade’ every politician running for congress on how pro-gun he or she is. These grades are often used by candidates to prove to voters his or her strong position either against or for guns.
Many companies cutting ties with the NRA now face consequences: Lawmakers in Georgia have punished Delta Airlines by eliminating a proposed tax exemption on jet fuel worth some $38 million. The NRA has also spoken up against the severing of ties.
“The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement,” the NRA said in a statement. “Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.”
Student survivors of the shooting, however, are supporting the boycott. Emma González, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School where the recent shooting occurred and an activist for the mitigation of semi-automatic weapons, has provided much of the drive against the NRA on social media. After the shooting, González created a Twitter account in order to join Twitter’s community of solidarity and activism and has since garnered 1.22 million followers, surpassing the NRA’s 621,000.