In the wake of the most recent mass shooting, business leaders are taking the place of politicians as the voice of reason and responsibility in American society. Companies are severing ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) amidst the outrage following the recent mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
On February 14, a gunman entered Stoneman Douglas High School armed with an AR-15, a weapon consistently defended by the NRA, and proceeded to murder seventeen people, chiefly high school students. When scores of innocent lives were lost during the mass shootings of Sandy Hook, Orlando, and Vegas, companies continued to stand by their partnerships with the NRA. But this time, it’s different.
The students of Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High School have said “no more.” They have started a movement, demanding lawmakers finally enact common-sense gun laws—thereby sparking real change on the stagnant issue of gun legislation. The student activists leading the charge have witnessed an increase in gun violence across the United States throughout their lifetimes. They’ve also grown up in the “Age of Social Media.”
These activists are experts in hashtags and navigators of the so-called “Twitterverse.” Quick to react, students began documenting their experiences through social media during the attack, using Snapchat and Facebook Live to report what was going on around them, giving the world a front-row seat to the terror they—and so many children before them—faced.
With motivation and nationwide support fueling their fight, the students of Stoneman Douglas and students across the country are taking on the NRA. Disappointed by the lack of action taken by lawmakers, activists are zeroing in on a new approach to propel change: a hashtag.
#BoycottNRA is spreading quickly across the Twitterverse and through corporate America. It’s a movement that’s taking no prisoners. Companies that formerly supported the NRA through discounts programs are severing ties with the pro-gun-rights organization. Action has been embraced by companies including Delta and United Airlines; Enterprise Holdings, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent a Car, and National Car Rental; The First National Bank of Omaha; Metlife; and Hertz, to name a few. Bank of America is investigating their customers, taking steps to limit engagement with clients who manufacture assault weapons.
America is a compassionate nation, but if you can’t strike change by seeking out morality, target our capitalist instincts.
Corporations are more reliable than lawmakers in responding to the demands of consumers, or constituents. The actions taken by companies impact lawmakers decisions. #BoycottNRA targets corporations, in turn, pressuring lawmakers to start putting pen to paper on gun legislation. Thus, business leaders are replacing lawmakers as our nation’s moral fiber.
Activists are commending companies for making changes and calling out those that refuse.
Corporations can drive change, but those unwilling to take part could see a drop in sales and customer satisfaction. Twitter is flooded with users calling for companies including Amazon and FedEx to cut ties with the NRA. Some users are even threatening to cancel their Amazon Prime subscriptions if the NRA’s media arm, NRATV, is not dropped. As of this post’s creation #BoycottFedEx, #BoycottAmazon and #BoycottWholeFoods are trending on Twitter.
Going forward, standing by the NRA is threatening customer relationships. Youth in America have always been drivers of change, and the students of Stoneman Douglas are leading an army that does not seem to be waning anytime soon. Companies should take this opportunity to be on the right side of history—if not to protect their morals, then to safeguard their success.