NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, addressing a conservative political conference, says “many in legacy media love mass shootings, you guys love it.” (Feb. 22)
Several businesses with ties to the National Rifle Association are breaking up with the group amid mounting pressure from gun-control proponents following the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.
MetLife said it would stop providing discounts to NRA members for auto and home insurance. “We value all our customers but have decided to end our discount program with the NRA,” the company told USA TODAY in a statement.
Cybersecurity firm Symantec, which offered NRA discounts to its LifeLock identity theft protection service and Norton anti-virus software, told USA TODAY on Friday that it had “stopped its discount program with the National Rifle Association.”
First National Bank of Omaha announced Thursday that it would end a Visa credit card that it offered with NRA branding, citing a deluge of customer complaints.
The moves raise questions about whether additional companies with NRA connections will follow suit.
First National Bank of Omaha’s breakup with the NRA put an end to a card that offered 5% back on gas and sporting goods purchases, according to an NRA blog, which boasted that “every time you pack up and head out on a hunt or to the range…. you’re putting money back in your pocket.”
The parent company of car rental brands Enterprise, Alamo and National, Enterprise Holdings, also announced on Twitter that it’s ending discount deals with the NRA.
An Enterprise spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the decision.
“Banks and other companies are sensitive to being on the wrong side of a social media campaign, which can spread pretty quickly these days,” said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor who has taught classes on marketing. “They don’t want to risk having people march or boycott.”
But Gordon said a widespread movement against NRA-affiliated companies was “unlikely” because most consumers don’t change their behavior based on political issues.
The NRA did not respond to a request for comment. CEO Wayne LaPierre told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday that “as usual the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for gain,” adding that gun control advocates and the media “hate the NRA, they hate the Second Amendment, they hate individual freedom.”
The liberal think tank Center for American Progress Action Fund’s ThinkProgress website claimed credit for bringing attention to the corporate NRA connections.
Companies that offer discounts to NRA members are “making membership to the group, which opposes nearly all gun safety legislation, more enticing,” ThinkProgress wrote.
“Much like AARP or AAA, the organization promotes its discounts for members as a selling point for why people should join,” ThinkProgress wrote. “The ‘valuable 5-star benefits’ promised include not just a subscription to an NRA magazine and a gun-owner liability protection policy but also savings on insurance, identity theft protection, hearing aids, car rentals, moving vans, shipping, and even wine.”
The NRA Business Alliance lists hundreds of companies that offer discounts to the pro-gun-rights interest group’s millions of members. Many are small businesses, including apparel makers, attorneys, accounting services, sporting goods stores, storage companies and gun shops.
But some are major national and international companies. They include:
—FedEx. The NRA Business Alliance says on its website that has “teamed up” with FedEx “to offer BIG savings” on the shipment giant’s services.
A FedEx spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
—TrueCar. The online car-buying service says that NRA members save an average of nearly $3,400 off the retail price of new and used vehicles.
TrueCar representatives did not respond to a request seeking comment.
—MetLife: The insurer had offered discounts to NRA members on auto and home policies. A spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the partnership.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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