The National Rifle Association is getting dropped by some of its marquee supporters and partners in the wake of a mass shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week.
So far, a handful of business partners have explicitly dropped the NRA from their roster. The First National Bank of Omaha said in a tweet on Thursday that because of “customer feedback,” the bank will cease issuing its NRA Visa card after its contract with the pro-gun lobbying group expires. And Enterprise Holdings — which operates the car rental companies Enterprise, Alamo, and National — told reporters on Thursday that it would no longer offer a discount to NRA members. Rental car giant Hertz followed suit later on Friday. Insurance giants Chubb and MetLife, and the home security company SimpliSafe, have also canceled partnerships with the pro-gun group.
For many years, the powerful lobbying group has struck partnerships with companies to offer NRA members discounts on a variety of services. Some of its existing partners include Hertz, FedEx, and the anti-virus software maker Norton.
The NRA initially kept quiet after the shooting, the second-deadliest ever in the U.S., with 17 people killed. Spokeswoman Dana Loesch appeared at a CNN town hall Wednesday night and spoke directly with survivors of the shooting, keeping her remarks unusually low-key.
But NRA leadership began fighting back Thursday morning. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre insisted that the only real way to prevent more school shootings was to increase security measures in schools — in particular, to start arming more security guards. And Loesch, who also appeared at CPAC, continued playing the game on the media.
“Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it," Loesch said. "Now I'm not saying that you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back [of the hall]."
Donald Trump has largely echoed the NRA’s proposals — like arming teachers, which he endorsed on Thursday morning. Before that, he voiced his support for banning bump stocks and strengthening background checks, which the NRA has supported for months. But the president has broken with the group on other aspects of gun policy. Earlier on Thursday, he tweeted that he supported raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase some weapons.
Cover image: NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press)