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These companies are cutting ties with the NRA

Krystal Hu
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Corporate America is taking on the country’s most powerful gun lobby group. In the wake of the mass shooting in a Florida high school last week, companies are dropping their partnerships with the National Rifle Association (NRA), which touts 5 million members.

According to a list compiled by ThinkProgress, an advocacy organization, there are at least 22 corporations, including car-rental companies and financial institutions that have been offering discounts to NRA members. As the #BoycottNRA movement picks up steam, some companies have cut ties.

Here is a list of companies: (We’ll update it as the story develops.)

First National Bank of Omaha: The largest privately held bank announced it will stop issuing the NRA Visa Card due to “customer feedback” on Thursday.

-Hertz (HTZ): The major rental-car company said on Friday it has “notified the NRA that we are ending the NRA’s rental car discount program with Hertz”

Enterprise: Its three car rental brands— Enterprise, National and Alamo will end a discount program for NRA members.

-Avis Budget Group (CAR): The parent company of several car rental brands including Avis Car Rental and Zipcar, will no longer provide the NRA member discount, effective March 26, the company confirmed in an email to Yahoo Finance.

-TrueCar (TRUE): The Calif.-based automotive pricing website announced it’s ending the car buying service relationship with the NRA, effective February 28, 2018.

Symantec (SYMC): The publicly-traded security software company said on Twitter it will no longer offer discounts to NRA members. LifeLock, the identity theft protection company acquired by Symantec last year has also stopped its discount program.

-Chubb (CB): The insurance giant told Yahoo Finance it would no longer offer the NRA insurance program for gun owners, a decision it made three months ago.

-MetLife (MET): As one of the largest global provider of insurance, MetLife provided discounts for the NRA members on coverage for RVs, motorcycles and boats. “We value all our customers but have decided to end our discount program with the NRA,” the company tweeted on Friday.

-Best Western: According to a 2016 brochure from the NRA, the hotel chain has provided special deals to NRA members. But it clarified on Twitter repeatedly that the company “does not have an affiliation with and is not a corporate partner of the National Rifle Association.”

-Wyndham Hotels: The hotel chain, which previously offered a 10% discount to NRA members, said on Twitter it is no longer affiliated with the NRA.

-SIRVA: Two moving companies under SIRVA— Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines, both announced it had ended the affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately. “We have asked them to remove our listing from their benefits site,” the company tweeted.

Delta Air Lines (DAL): The airline tweeted on Saturday it will be “ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program.”

United Airlines (UAL): United followed Delta’s lead on Saturday, tweeting “United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting.”

-Starkey Hearing Technologies: The Minnesota-based hearing aid maker announced on Twitter it would stop renewing the discount program with the NRA.

Engaging or alienating consumers?

Many people applauded the announcements, seeing it as a sign of companies speaking out publicly on social issues. But not everyone is pleased by the stand they are taking. Under First National Bank’s Twitter account, some people expressed disappointment on the decision and threatened to stop using their service.

“There is always a financial risk of alienating part of your audience, but that’s a short-term risk,” said Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing. She expects to see more companies join the movement. “Companies make calculations. They may lose some, but will end up building stronger relationships with customers.”

Besides losing customers, there could also be some legal risks in the movement, according to Larry Hutcher, a corporate lawyer at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP.

“The NRA could argue for money damages if those companies terminate the long-term contract before the expiration date, because it’s the way that the NRA will always be.” says Hutcher. But he doesn’t think the NRA will choose to sue the companies who no longer want to be associated with it. The NRA hasn’t replied to Yahoo Finance’s interview request.

Companies are more vocal this time

This is not the first time that corporations have been scrutinized for their partnerships with the NRA. In 2016, a coalition of gay-rights and gun-control activists slammed FedEx (FDX), which offers up to 26% discounts to NRA members. FedEx ignored the call and the incentive program continues.

But this time, the backlash has been more intense as the mass shooting happened in a school. Student survivors organized protests and called for the ban on assault-style guns. This has fueled people’s anger towards the NRA, which is known for blocking gun-control measures by pouring millions of dollars in political campaign contributions.

On Monday, FedEx made the stance that it won’t end discount to the NRA members because it “has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs or positions on issues.”

This ongoing trend of companies taking a stance on political and social issues has picked up since last year, when household brands like Under Armour, Papa Johns and NFL got involved in political discussions and spurred controversies. Social media has played a big role in attracting attention. According to data from Trendsmap, more than 60,000 tweets about FedEx emerged in 24 hours. Some used #FedExDumpNRA to pressure the shipping giant to drop its affiliation with the NRA.

In a statement published on Saturday, the NAR called the corporations who have decided to end partnerships were “in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.”

Krystal Hu covers e-commerce for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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