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A call to boycott the National Rifle Association became the top trend on Twitter as users of the global social media platform demanded that a variety of companies sever ties with the lobbying group. The online furor comes a day after the NRA’s leaders attacked the media and Democrats, claiming the fallout from last week’s Florida high school massacre was being politicized.
One user, with almost a quarter of a million followers, tagged a slew of brands in his post, including NRA partners Hertz Corp. and LifeLock Inc. “There are only 5 million NRA members but over 300 million of us! Businesses have a choice whose business they prefer,” tweeted another.
We have notified the NRA that we are ending the NRA’s rental car discount program with Hertz.
— Hertz (@Hertz) February 23, 2018
Late Friday morning, LifeLock owner Symantec and insurer MetLife announced they would break off from the NRA. “Symantec has stopped its discount program with the National Rifle Association,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. A MetLife spokesman said “we value all our customers but have decided to end our discount program with the NRA.” Security systems maker Simplisafe Inc. also dropped the gun group today.
The five million-member NRA has partnerships with dozens of businesses, ranging from car rentals to hotels, and even offers a branded credit card. First National Bank of Omaha, which backs the card, said it would not renew its contract. Enterprise Holdings Inc., which operates Alamo and National car rentals as well, said it had ended its participation effective March 26. Wyndham Hotel Group LLC announced it was “no longer affiliated with the NRA.”
[From Skift: In addition to Hertz, Enterprise and Wyndham, Best Western has reportedly severed ties with the NRA, as well.]
In a statement Friday, insurer Chubb said it told the NRA three months ago that it would “discontinue participation in the NRA Carry Guard insurance program under the terms of our contract.”
Still, many companies continue to have a relationship with the advocacy group, while others associated with it didn’t immediately return requests for comment. HotelPlanner.com, unmoved by the controversy, said it would stick by the NRA.
“Our company provides discounted rooms to several large associations, including the NRA,” said Tim Hentschel, co-founder of Hotel Planner. “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.”
The NRA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
While this powerful supporter of guns is under attack, the gun industry is facing some blowback of its own. Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, long a staunch opponent of gun regulations, announced his support for them, including allowing courts to prohibit the mentally ill from purchasing firearms, raising the purchasing age to 21, and banning the sale of bump stocks. Fear of gun control coupled with the backlash against the firearms industry has led stock prices to fall. American Outdoor Brands has dropped 8.8 percent this week. Sturm Ruger is down 4.6 percent. Vista Outdoor has fallen almost 9 percent.
–With assistance from Ivan Levingston Katherine Chiglinsky and Brian Louis
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.