NRA Fallout: Weapons Lobby Targeted by Growing Commercial Boycott
February 28, 2018
MoveOn.org & USA TODAY & Fox Business
Last week, in less than three days, 16 major corporations broke their ties to the NRA. United Airlines. Delta. Enterprise Rent-a-Car. MetLife Insurance. North American Van Lines. Simplisafe Home Security. They all said "enough" and canceled their deals with the NRA. Some Republican governors and members of Congress are finally standing up to the NRA as well, with new supporters coming out in favor of everything from an assault weapons ban to universal background checks and raising the age limit on gun purchases.
The NRA Just Got Some Really Bad News
(February 27, 2018) -- The roof is caving in on the NRA.
Last week, in less than three days, 16 major corporations broke their ties to the NRA. United Airlines. Delta. Enterprise Rent-a-Car. MetLife Insurance. North American Van Lines. Simplisafe Home Security. They all said "enough" and canceled their deals with the NRA.
Some Republican governors and members of Congress are finally standing up to the NRA as well, with new supporters coming out in favor of everything from an assault weapons ban to universal background checks and raising the age limit on gun purchases.
The backlash against the NRA is growing, and the next big moment to turn up the pressure is the wave of student-led marches and walkouts scheduled for this March and April. MoveOn is committed to helping make these events as big as possible by mobilizing our millions of members nationwide, promoting the marches to our social media audience, elevating the voices of the student leaders at the marches, and more -- while continuing to exert direct pressure on companies and investing in community organizations fighting against gun violence.
The true impact of all the corporations abandoning the NRA isn't just a public relations embarrassment for the gun lobby. It goes to the heart of their ability to recruit and retain members, and it's why they lashed out at their former corporate partners this weekend, accusing them of "political and civic cowardice."4
Right on the organization's own website, the #2 reason why they say people should join the NRA is for member discounts on everything from hotels to insurance.5 So much for that.
The #BoycottTheNRA movement isn't finished either. There are another three-dozen companies that still have direct financial relationships with the organization. And because of the sustained pressure, Wall Street firms and pension funds are now looking at divestment from the gun industry. Pressure is rising on online services like Amazon to stop streaming NRATV.
The brave high school students in Parkland -- joining a tradition of young people organizing to end gun violence in their communities -- sparked the backlash that's helping catalyze actions for gun control in boardrooms and state capitols all over the country.
Now it's up to all of us to keep it going. Over the coming weeks, marches and walkouts are being held in Washington, D.C., and at high schools and in communities all over the country.
MoveOn members have a history of confronting the NRA with grassroots activism -- and winning. In 2015, after the massacre in Oregon, we organized tens of thousands of "gun owners for gun control" and brought a cohort of this group to DC to meet with the president and lawmakers. Several of these MoveOn members were on stage with President Obama a few months later when he signed his most significant executive action against gun violence.
After the Las Vegas massacre, we helped pressure the Democratic Party to officially reject funds from gun manufacturers and their lobbyists. And after the violence in Virginia, we endorsed a slate of candidates who supported sensible gun laws -- and who beat NRA-backed candidates up and down the ballot.
The myth of NRA invincibility is just that -- a myth. And if we can prove that members of Congress and other elected officials can stand up to the NRA and gain political support, it will be the beginning of the end of the gun lobby's chokehold on American politics.
MoveOn is committed to doing whatever it takes to take down the NRA and prevent the next tragic mass shooting. Are you with us? Click Here.
See the list of companies that cut discounts
for NRA members after Parkland, Florida school shooting
Nathan Bomey / USA TODAY
(February 26, 2018) -- Major companies with ties to the National Rifle Association suddenly shed ties to the pro-gun-rights interest group amid intense scrutiny over the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
The breakups were swift amid a billowing cloud of scrutiny on social media, where countless users threatened to boycott companies that maintained a relationship with the NRA.
Most of the businesses had offered discounted products and services to NRA's several million members. Critics said the deals served as an attractive element of NRA membership.
The NRA blasted the companies that severed ties for "a shameful display of political and civic cowardice."
"Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world," the group said in a statement.
Under pressure to end discounts through the NRA Business Alliance, FedEx said Monday that it would not sever the relationship but that it opposed the NRA's views on assault weapons.
"FedEx is a common carrier under federal law and therefore does not and will not deny service or discriminate against any legal entity regardless of their policy positions or political views," the company said in a statement.
FedEx added that "the NRA is one of hundreds of organizations" that receive discounts and FedEx "has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs or positions on issues."
The NRA says on its website that it has "teamed up" with FedEx "to offer BIG savings" on the shipment giant's services.
The company said Monday that its views on guns "differ from those of the National Rifle Association" and it "opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians."
"While we strongly support the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own firearms subject to appropriate background checks, FedEx views assault rifles and large capacity magazines as an inherent potential danger to schools, workplaces, and communities when such weapons are misused," FedEx said. "We therefore support restricting them to the military."
The company also called on lawmakers to take action "to protect schools and students from incidents such as the horrific tragedy in Florida."
While FedEx refused to cut off the NRA, other major companies are still under pressure, as well. Amazon, Google and Apple have taken heat from celebrity critics, who called for the company to stop offering an NRA video channel through streaming services.
Here's the list of companies that have dropped NRA deals:
*Delta Air Lines: The company axed discounted rates for NRA members.
*United Airlines: United ended an offer of discounted flights for NRA members traveling to their annual meeting.
*Enterprise Holdings: The parent company of car rental brands Enterprise, Alamo and National is ending discount deals with the NRA within a few weeks.
*Hertz: Like Enterprise, car rental company Hertz is ending discounts to NRA members.
*Avis and Budget: The company that owns the Avis and Budget rental car firms also plans to end discounts for NRA members.
*Symantec: The cybersecurity company's LifeLock identity theft protection service for businesses and its Norton anti-virus software had both offered discounts to NRA members. Those deals are off.
*TrueCar: The online car-buying service is ending its deal for NRA members, who previously saved an average of nearly $3,400 off the retail price of new and used vehicles.
*MetLife: The insurer had offered discounts to NRA members on auto and home policies before axing the deal.
*SimpliSafe: The home security company had offered a special promotion to NRA members, but that ended Friday.
*First National Bank of Omaha: The financial institution cut an NRA-branded Visa credit card.
* NRA hits back at United Airlines, Delta, other companies for cutting ties
* MetLife, rental car agencies dump NRA discounts
* NRA-branded Visa card dropped by First National Bank of Omaha
* Amazon, Google and Apple under pressure to remove NRA streaming channel
Ten Things You Can't (Easily) Buy With Credit Cards
Michelle Crouch / Fox Business
(January 25, 2016) -- Thanks to new technology and mobile card readers, you can use your credit card to buy just about everything these days, from candy in a vending machine to goods at a garage sale.
But there are still a few types of transactions you can't use your credit card for, either because they're high-risk, they attract a lot of fraud or they simply tend to give customers a bad case of buyer's remorse, leading to disputes and charge-backs that are expensive for the credit card companies. Here are 10 things you can't buy (or that are difficult to buy) with plastic:
1. Chips in a casino. Even though casinos are legal, make sure you bring cash if you're planning to play the roulette table. Most states have gaming regulations that prohibit casinos from accepting a credit card for gambling chips, says Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars Entertainment, which owns 52 casino resorts in seven countries.
Even without those rules, however, the industry's own Responsible Gaming Program bars the practice. Of course, you can always use your credit card to get a cash advance, for a sizeable fee, at a casino ATM. Still, Thompson believes that extra step creates a psychological barrier. "If you run out of chips when you're gambling, this forces you to get up, walk away from the table, apply for the cash advance, and then go the casino cage to get your chips," he says. "What that does is give you time to think about whether you're going over your cash-imposed limit. We believe it stops some people from doing something impulsive."
2. Mutual funds and stocks. While there are reports of a few firms offering their best customers the option to buy shares with a credit card, most brokerage firms, even online ones, won't allow it. "They want people to have skin in the game, to have real money at risk," says Michael Thomsett, author of "Getting Started in Stock Investing and Trading. "If you really want to borrow money to buy shares, consider a margin account over a cash advance," Thomsett says. In that type of account, usually available only to established investors, the securities you hold are collateral for a line of credit from the brokerage that you can use to buy more stock. The interest rate on a margin account is likely lower than the one on your credit card, and there are no ongoing payments to make. However, it does expose you to a higher level of risk, Thomsett says, so it's an option best used only by experienced investors.
3. Money orders. This is another no-no, basically because you'd be borrowing money to buy cash. Most merchants, including the U.S. Postal Service and check-cashing locations, require you to use cash or a debit card to buy a money order. That restriction cuts down on fraud and makes it more likely that issuers will get their money. The occasional supermarket may allow you to buy a money order with a credit card, but be warned: Your bank will likely process the transaction as a cash advance, subject to a fee, higher interest rates than what you pay for purchases and no interest-free grace period.
4. Lap dances. Heading to a gentleman's club for a bachelor party? Hit the ATM before you go. While your credit card will certainly be accepted for food and beverages, many adult clubs take only cash for lap dances or other services from the dancers, says Angelina Spencer, a former club owner and executive director of the Association of Club Executives, a trade association for the adult club industry. For one thing, Spencer jokes, it's not easy to tuck a credit card receipt into a dancer's G-string. But the real reason, she says, are customers with next-day regrets. "Too often we get someone having a really good time, and then later they say, 'Oops, I didn't really mean to do that,'" Spencer says. "When that happens, there's not a lot of recourse." A few clubs do take cards for services, but they may require a thumbprint as well as a signature to help prove the customer was actually there and authorized the charge.
5. Donation to WikiLeaks. Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal have said that they will not process donations intended for the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, citing violations of their terms of service. (American Express and Discover were never accepted by WikiLeaks.) Beth Robertson, director of payments research at Javelin Strategy & Research, says card companies have long had a black list of groups associated with terrorists or other illegal activity. WikiLeaks was added to Visa and MasterCard's lists after it released confidential State Department documents late last year; a series of attacks by WikiLeaks supporters that shut down the Visa and MasterCard websites further damaged its credibility. Critics say the card companies' decision to block payments to a legal entity amounts to censorship. They note that you can still use your card to make donations to other controversial groups, including anti-abortion activists and the Ku Klux Klan.
6. Online pornography. While other card companies allow the purchase of legal adult material on the Internet, American Express has made online pornography off-limits to its customers since 2000. American Express spokeswoman Diana Postemsky says that the company has a policy of not doing business with illegal or high-risk industries. "Digital adult content just has unacceptably high levels of customer disputes," Postemsky says, "and that raises our administrative costs because we have to bear the expense of handling those disputes."
7. Medical marijuana. Again, American Express is more conservative than the other card networks on this issue. Although medical marijuana is legal in 16 states, you can't buy it with an AmEx card. "Our decision was to adhere to federal law," which prohibits any purchase of marijuana, even for medical reasons, Postemsky says. MasterCard, Visa and Discover do allow the purchase of medical marijuana with their cards, but MasterCard spokesman Jim Issokson said that as of Oct. 3, the company was evaluating its policy. "The issue of purchasing medical marijuana is an emerging issue, and we're continuing to look into it," he said. In a statement, he noted that "MasterCard does not permit its brand to be associated with anything illegal."
8. Mortgage payment. Despite all the credit card rewards you could earn by putting your mortgage on your card every month, lenders simply won't let you do this. That's partly because they don't want to pay credit card company merchant fees and partly because it's risky. "They don't want people to keep rolling balances and building up debt and never paying it off," says Robertson of Javelin. American Express launched a program in 2007 to allow its more affluent customers to pay their mortgages with plastic, but the program died after the two lenders offering the service failed as part of the subprime mortgage crisis. San Francisco-based ChargeSmart will let you pay your mortgage with your card for a fee, typically 2% of the transaction amount.
9. Online gambling. Though there is a federal ban on online wagering, hundreds of overseas-based sites are operating and thousands of Americans play, making it a multi-billion-dollar industry. A 2006 law prohibits banks and credit card companies from transferring payments between gambling companies and individuals, so most of the sites don't allow you to pay with credit cards. Instead, you can send a check or wire money. Efforts are being made at both the federal and the state level to overturn the law banning online gambling, but even if it changes, players may still be barred from using plastic to make payments, simply because of the high-risk nature of the transactions.
10. Lottery tickets. Many states prohibit the sale of lottery tickets with a credit card, but a few, including New York and Louisiana, allow it. Even in those states, however, many retailers do not offer you the option or if they do, your card company may charge you a hefty cash advance fee. If you do live in a state that allows it and want to pay with credit, you won't be able to use American Express. The company does not allow its cards to be used to play the lottery, Postemsky says. As with other forms of gambling and online pornography, the company considers the practice too susceptible to disputes and other problems.
* JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America & Citi bar people from buying bitcoin with a credit card, CNBC, February 2, 2018
* "A List of the Companies Cutting Ties With the NRA," The New York Times, February 24, 2018
* "NRA battles Florida Republicans over gun crackdown," <>i>Politico, February 26, 2018
* "I'm Republican. I Appreciate Assault Weapons. And I Support a Ban." The New York Times, February 23, 2018
* "NRA lashes out at boycott movement as United, Delta and other corporations cut ties," The Washington Post, February 25, 2018
* "Five Reasons You (And Your Friends) Should Join the NRA Today," NRA Family, May 4, 2016
* "Wall Street May Be Rethinking Their Relationship With Guns," Bloomberg, February 22, 2018
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