US firms cutting ties with NRA amid calls for boycott

NEW YORK • A call to boycott the National Rifle Association (NRA) 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 furore comes a day after the NRA's leaders attacked the media and Democrats, claiming that the fallout from the Feb 14 Florida high school massacre was being politicised.

One user, with a quarter of a million followers, tagged a slew of brands in his post, including NRA partners Hertz and identity theft protection company LifeLock.

Another user tweeted: "There are only five million NRA members but over 300 million of us! Businesses have a choice whose business they prefer."

LifeLock owner Symantec, Hertz, North American and Allied Van Lines, and insurer MetLife announced on Friday that they would break off from the NRA.

"Symantec has stopped its discount programme with the National Rifle Association," a spokesman said.

A MetLife spokesman said: "We value all our customers but have decided to end our discount programme with the NRA."

Security systems maker Simplisafe also dropped the gun group.

The 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, which operates Alamo and National car rentals, said it had ended its participation, effective March 26. The Wyndham Hotel Group announced it was "no longer affiliated with the NRA".

In a statement on Friday, insurer Chubb said it told the NRA three months ago that it would "discontinue participation in the NRA Carry Guard insurance programme under the terms of our contract".

Still, many companies continue to have a relationship with the advocacy group.

HotelPlanner.com said it would stick by the NRA. "Our company provides discounted rooms to several large associations, including the NRA," said its co-founder, Mr Tim Hentschel.

Meanwhile, an online campaign using the Twitter hashtag #StopNRAmazon picked up steam, putting pressure on Amazon to stop streaming content from NRATV, the gun group's online video channel.

The United States Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right of Americans to bear arms. The NRA, which has long used campaign donations and effective lobbying to command political influence, argues that stricter gun control would erode individual rights.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 25, 2018, with the headline 'US firms cutting ties with NRA amid calls for boycott'. Print Edition | Subscribe