The dialogue that followed the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has moved far past the usual rinse-and-repeat cycles of “thoughts and prayers” combined with calls for gun control that usually die out within days. Teen survivors have energized the issue with fiery demands for action that have led over a dozen brands — and the list is growing — to dissociate themselves from the gun lobby amid a social media call through the #NRABoycott hashtag.
The companies are making their position known by ending discounts for NRA members, which gun-control advocates seem to believe will have no impact on the organization’s existence. However, those severed ties will also lead to a loss of “kickbacks” (for unspecified amounts like those from the NRA-branded credit card discontinued by First National Bank of Omaha), which will make operations at least a little more difficult for the gun lobby. The NRA, however, has issued a statement to slam the “cowardice” of these brands while attempting to shift all responsibility for the latest mass shooting to other parties:
Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationship with the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community. We are men and women who represent every American ethnic group, every one of the world’s religions and every form of political commitment.
The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.
Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.
The NRA goes on to say that the severed ties will have no effect on the organization itself, but those missing kickbacks will undoubtedly disrupt the symbiotic relationship between the NRA and Congress. That is to say, smaller or fewer campaign donations to GOP members will make them likely to push so hard against gun-control efforts. And especially in the case of “easy to buy” Marco Rubio, those politicians may eventually decide that public pressure outweighs the fear of Second Amendment erosion.
In other words, the gun lobby may still grasp its own cohesive message, but the NRA may soon only exist as a shadow of its former self.