In the wake of the Valentine’s Day gun massacre in a Florida school, the momentum is, expectedly, growing for banning gun-sales in the US. Survivor-students have vowed to march to Washington, DC to ensure that lawmakers consider the proposition seriously. That may not happen, though, given how many Republicans—including president Donald Trump—have already made it clear that they will oppose a ban on guns, though some are in favour of stricter gun-control laws. Republicans are in majority in both the Congress and the Senate, and their nominees in the US Supreme Court, outstrip Democrat nominees, too. That means, march to DC or no march, guns will stay. The country’s largest gun-lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has become the target of popular anger for aggressively resisting the groundswell for a ban. But the NRA is a seasoned player in this game, and it is impossible to think of a scenario in which it will yield.
Against such a backdrop, American citizens are forcing businesses to pick sides, given the heft of corporate America is perhaps the only force that can turn lawmakers around and stare down the NRA. It could be the realisation of how senseless the NRA argument for guns is, or it could be the branding problem that sticking with NRA creates, but many American companies are snapping ties with the gun-lobby group. While cyber-security major Symantec has ended a discount on a security product that was offered in association with NRA, MetLife, the insurer has killed a special auto and home insurance offering it had for NRA members. Both United Airlines and Delta Airlines have ended their respective deals for NRA and affiliates. It is not as if all this has been easy. Delta, which is based in the Republican-ruled state of Georgia, has run into turbulence. The state’s lieutenant governor, Casey Cagle—who is running for the post of governor—tweeted that he would “kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with [the] @NRA.”
There is no saying if such a stance will cost him electorally, but a politician openly threatening a corporate—that too, in favour of a lobby-group that enjoys very little popular support—is just bad politics. But corporate citizens of the US will have to decide if they stand with individual citizens fighting for a sane cause.