International desk: More than half a dozen US companies have cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as consumers urge a boycott of businesses linked to the politically powerful gun lobby.
The firms included car rental giants Hertz and Enterprise, which offered discounts for NRA members. The moves follow NRA leader Wayne LaPierre’s speech defending gun rights.
They were the NRA’s first public comments since a deadly school shooting in Florida. Mr LaPierre said “opportunists” were using the 14 February tragedy, in which 17 people were killed, to expand gun control and abolish US gun rights.
Activists have tried to put pressure on the NRA since the shooting by targeting firms that offer discounts and other benefits to its members.
On Thursday, the family-owned First National Bank of Omaha said it would not renew NRA-branded credit cards, citing “customer feedback”.
Enterprise Holdings, which owns the rental car brands Alamo, Enterprise and National, also said discounts offered to NRA members would end on 26 March.
Other companies distanced themselves from the NRA on Friday.
Those included MetLife Insurance, the Avis Budget Group, home security firm Simplisafe, two moving brands – Allied Van Lines and northAmerican Van Lines – and Symantec Corp which had offered discounts for its LifeLock identity theft product.
Insurance firm Chubb also said it had stopped underwriting an NRA-branded insurance policy three months ago.
The NRA, which claims five million members, did not respond to a request for comment about effect of the boycott.
The campaign comes as US businesses increasingly find themselves entangled in political debates, as activists target them on issues such as LGBTQ rights, as well as ties to the president.
Companies such as retailer Nordstrom and sportswear brand Under Armour are among the firms that have been subject to calls for boycotts from the left and right.
Executives serving on presidential councils, including the former chief executive of Uber, have resigned from the advisory groups after consumer pressure. The councils eventually disbanded last summer.
North Carolina last year also rescinded a law that restricted bathrooms for transgender people after a boycott by businesses and sports leagues. BBC