The National Rifle Association has a pretty broad reach due to the number of members the organization has. Because of that reach, there have been a lot of benefits to membership that have little to do with gun rights.
However, two companies that provided those benefits have severed ties with the NRA amid the post-Parkland hysteria.
Two major companies have severed their corporate relationship with the National Rifle Association in the wake of the Florida high school shooting.
Enterprise Holdings Inc., which is the parent company of Enterprise, Alamo, and National Car Rental, said Thursday the discount program for NRA members would end, starting March 26.
The First National Bank of Omaha, the largest privately-owned bank in the nation, also said Thursday it will not renew a contract with the NRA for a branded Visa card.
“Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA,” the bank wrote on its Twitter account. “As a result, First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA Visa Card.”
I can understand why these companies are making this move, though I’m not going to excuse it.
Both companies are getting a lot of flak right now over their ties to the NRA, an organization being described as “pro-slaughter” despite absolutely no evidence supporting the claim. They’re getting hammered, and it seems to them that bowing out will help them back away from the controversy.
However, they shouldn’t be allowed just to slink away. Yes, they have a right to make whatever decisions they want, but they also need to be reminded that the firearm community is massive and that we aren’t appreciative of being thrown under the bus like this.
The truth is that despite the anti-gun rhetoric flying around the airwaves right now, the NRA and gun rights activists aren’t responsible for what happened in Parkland, Florida. The only person responsible is a snot-nosed thug who decided to take a modern sporting rifle to his old school and declare open season on children.
Others made mistakes, but none of those mistakes would have mattered if the 19-year-old madman didn’t act. It’s on him and, ultimately, no one else.
These companies, however, are acting like the NRA is responsible. They’re feeding into the hysteria that paints millions of Americans as somehow responsible as well.
What they aren’t thinking about is that gun owners aren’t school children. We’re people who travel and rent cars or use credit cards. We also tend to be people with long memories. Hell, how many people do you know that still won’t own a Smith & Wesson because of the deal they signed with the Clinton-era HUD? I know of a few.
Gun folks aren’t likely to forget this betrayal. We’re not likely to ignore it or pretend it’s all better without a damn good reason to do so.
While companies have a right to sever ties with whoever they want, so long as they’re contractually able to do so, they need to remember there are potential ramifications for doing so.