EDITORIAL: Hit the NRA where it hurts

SHARE EDITORIAL: Hit the NRA where it hurts

School students from Montgomery County, Md., in suburban Washington, rally in solidarity on Feb. 21, 2018, with those affected by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, at the Capitol in Washington. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP photo

Here’s a company you might want to do more business with:

United Airlines.

If you agree with us that our nation’s gun laws make mass murder too easy, reward the Chicago-based airline for cutting ties with the National Rifle Association.


Here’s another company you might want to favor:

Delta Air Lines.

Like United, Delta no longer will offer NRA members discounted rates.

And here are a few more companies you may want to support for siding with sanity in the last week, all of them having cut marketing ties with the NRA:

Enterprise Car Rentals, Hertz, Avis/Budget, True Car, Wyndham Hotels, MetLife, Starkey Hearing, Paramount RX, Symantec Corp., Allied Van Lines, SimpliSafe home security systems, Chubb Ltd., Best Western and the First National Bank of Omaha.

In the days since the Feb. 14 shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, in which 17 students and staffers were killed, a string of corporations have begun to cut ties with the NRA.

Whether they’re doing what’s right out of principle or to protect their profits — bowing to pressure from a growing “Boycott NRA” campaign — doesn’t much matter in the end. They’re doing it and should be rewarded. Other companies will catch on.

We don’t know if a corporate boycott of the NRA, which is funded largely by gun makers, will do serious damage to the organization’s bottom line. But our hope is that it will further erode the credibility of an organization that has grown ever more politically extreme and irrational.

The NRA effectively stopped being a bipartisan organization six years ago after 20 children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary schools in Newtown, Conn. As the Washington Post reports, Democratic politicians at that point deserted the NRA when it resisted calls for tighter gun laws.

Since then, the NRA has been a far-right subsidiary of the Republican Party. Or, perhaps more accurately, the GOP has been a subsidiary of the NRA.

Corporate pressure works. Let’s keep it up.

It was corporate pressure that forced North Carolina legislators in 2017 to repeal a controversial law that required transgender people to use the bathrooms corresponding with their gender at birth. Change the law, companies such as Google and Microsoft said, or we’ll do our business and hold our conventions elsewhere.

It was corporate pressure, by the likes of Apple and Eli Lilly, that forced Indiana legislators and then-Gov. Mike Pence in 2015 to roll back a “religious freedom” law that amounted to a license for businesses to discriminate against gay and transgender people.

The NRA grows nuttier by the day. An organization that once was devoted to the mainstream rights of deer hunters now thrashes about in the shadows of alt-right conspiracy theories. In a speech last week, Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, had this to say about anybody who favors stricter gun laws:

“If they seize power, if these so-called European socialists take over the House and the Senate, and God forbid they get the White House again, our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever.”

Last we looked, the students and parents from Stoneman Douglas who are calling for a ban on the sale of assault weapons to 18-year-olds were neither “European socialists” nor interested in taking away anybody’s “American freedoms.” They were just devastated.

The backlash against the NRA may be spreading, as well, to the gun manufacturers who fund the organization. As also reported by the Washington Post, giant Wall Street investment firms such as BlackRock and pension fund managers are exploring ways to disinvest in gun companies.

Socially responsible investing is a welcomed trend.

And we can think of no greater social responsibility than reforming our nation’s gun laws.

Support the boycott. Hit the gun lobby where it hurts.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com.

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