United, Delta join list of companies publicly distancing from the NRA

Two of the nation’s biggest airlines on Saturday joined a growing list of companies that have publicly distanced themselves from the National Rifle Association amid a social media backlash in the wake of a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

“United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website,” the airline tweeted Saturday morning.

Delta Air Lines added: “Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website.”

Social-media activists have sought to isolate the pro-gun group from a bevy of organizations that previously offered discounts and special incentives for its members. In turn, NRA backers including author and Fox News commentator Todd Starnes and conservative talk-radio hosts erupted in a counter social-media protest at the airlines’ moves on Saturday.

Politicians including Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) welcomed the airlines’ actions.

The NRA has also faced increasing political backlash as some lawmakers in states like Florida eye raising the age required to purchase an AR-15-style assault rifle. The accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, allegedly used an AR-15-style rifle during the shooting on Feb. 14.

Three major car rental companies, National, Enterprise and Alamo, announced on Thursday that they are ending their discounts for the gun group’s members effective March 26.

Other companies that ceased ties with the NRA include: insurance giant MetLife; Symantec, creator of the Norton anti-virus software and owner of the identity theft protection company LifeLock and First National Bank of Omaha, which previously offered the “official credit card of the NRA.”

Bank of America says it is “re-examining” its relationships with businesses that manufacture AR-15 rifles, according to a statement reported by Axios on Saturday.

After other mass shootings, including the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, companies have responded with similar actions.

Dick’s Sporting Goods ceased carrying assault rifles after Sandy Hook, but according to a NBC News report later resumed selling the guns through a specialty chain.

Facing a public backlash to the sale of bump stocks, Walmart and outdoor retailer Cabela’s, according to media reports, stopped online sales of the accessory used by a gunman during a mass shooting in Las Vegas last fall who killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.

During a CNN town hall with survivors and families of the massacre, NRA national spokeswoman Dana Loesch blamed failures in federal laws, including in the national background check system, for the shooting.

“How was he able to pass a background check? He was able to pass a background check because we have a system that’s flawed,” Loesch said.

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