While the pro-gun side of the debate is very much on the offense (Washington Post) the American debate over guns since the latest school shooting is leading to specific actions beyond expressions of grief with a new round of responses from corporations and retailers in the United States.
In the weeks since the February 14 shooting in Parkland, FL, in which 17 people were killed more than a dozen companies and brands have publicly severed ties with the National Rifle Association. Not surprisingly, the NRA roundly condemned (Washington Post) these actions and the #BoycottNRA campaign in general.
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When Delta Airlines, which has a major hub in Atlanta, GA announced the end of its discount for NRA members – the Republican Party in Georgia forcefully objected. In an attempt to coerce Delta Airlines to reverse its decision the GOP (Grand Old Party) state legislators publicly stated they will work to remove tax breaks (CNN) in a pending bill.
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s Morning Joe warned the GOP that it might backfire, noting the example of GE’s move from Connecticut after a showdown with that state’s legislature (National Review). He went on to note that it was a contradictory move for ‘conservative’ politicians to interfere in disputes between private entities.
Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, nationwide retailers in the U.S. have both announced new policies on gun sales.
On February 28, Dick’s Sporting Goods stated it would no longer sell “assault-style rifles” in its 35 Field and Stream stores. The company also implored the government to “enact common sense gun reform”. Dick’s had already discontinued the sale of these weapons in its flagship stores after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting
Dick’s Twitter feed stated this: “But thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our kids.”
According to The New York Times, “this announcement is one of the strongest stances taken by corporate America in the national gun debate.”
Later the same day, mega-retailer Walmart also declared it would not sell weapons or ammunition of any kind to anyone under 21 (Washington Post). In addition, it will remove any weapons that resemble assault-style rifles from its online operation.
Update March 2: US Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores have also announced that they are raising the age limit to buy guns and ammunition, followed by LL Bean, the high-profile outdoors and clothing retailer.
Update March 5: The Washington Post reported: “An Illinois gun show bans AR-15 sales, landing it at the center of a national gun-control debate.”
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