Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Georgia Republicans Fight Back Against #BoycottNRA by Halting Airline Tax-cut Bill

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The mainstream media and the Left are unfairly blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the February 14 Parkland, Florida shooting, and corporations are kowtowing to demands that they cut ties with the gun lobby group. Delta Airlines and United Airlines are two of those companies, both which just ended their NRA discount policies, and now Georgia Republicans are retaliating by pledging to kill the airline tax-cut bill.

The Valentine's Day shooting was carried out by 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz, who had long been on law enforcement's radar, as well as the FBI's, after the agency received numerous complaints about him. Under Florida law, a number of incidents could have prompted police officers and federal agents to confiscate Cruz's weapons; however, they did not. On the day of the shooting, law-enforcement officers had the opportunity to enter the school and confront the gunman, but they did not. In the several years leading up the shooting, Cruz showed signs to family and friends of being a danger to both himself and society (he even threatened online to shoot up a school), but was still somehow able to keep his weapons. According to Dr. Alan Lipman, an expert in the psychology of violence at George Washington Medical Center, Cruz, who had been in mental health therapy, likely had untreated depression, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reports. And still, Cruz managed to retain his weapons and execute one of the worst school shootings in recent history.

Yet, instead of placing the blame for the horrific events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on law enforcement's many fails, mental health system shortcomings, the FBI's incompetence, the school's lack of metal detectors or armed security guards, or the overall breakdown of morality in society that helps to create these mass shooters, critics have jumped on the anti-gun, anti-NRA crusade and are not letting up.

The #BoycottNRA movement has called upon big companies to end their ties with the NRA. According to the Washington Post, First National Bank of Omaha was one of the first to bow to the calls, with the rental car giants Enterprise, Hertz, Avis Budget Group, and TrueCar, as well as North American Van Lines, and Allied Van Lines following suit. By the end of the week, Symantec, MetLife, Best Western, and Wyndham Hotels announced they were ending their NRA member discounts. Chubb Limited insurance even announced it would end the policy of covering NRA members who faced lawsuits for shooting people.

FedEx attempted to take a political stance while simultaneously resisting calls to end its NRA discount. “FedEx opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

Still, the company maintained that it will not "deny service or discriminate against any legal entity regardless of their policy positions or political views."

FedEx's refusal to end its policy with the NRA prompted Hollywood celebrities such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus to announce that they would boycott the delivery service.

Delta Airlines initially held out against the pressure from anti-gun advocates, but by the Saturday after the shooting, it announced it would discontinue its discounts to NRA members and asked the group to remove the information about the perk from a convention website. United Airlines followed suit just two hours after Delta's announcement.

But pro-Second Amendment advocates are starting to fight back against this attack on constitutional rights. Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle vowed to kill a proposed tax cut for airlines after Delta eliminated its NRA discount program. The bill would have granted a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel. Other Republicans in the state legislature also pledged to pull their support for the bill. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” Cagle, who had previously supported the bill, declared on Twitter.

According to the Washington Times, Cagle "wields significant influence over legislation and how it flows through the Senate, where Republicans hold a 37 to 19 majority over Democrats."

Delta has responded by saying it supports the Second Amendment but its decision "reflects the airline's neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings."

And while the future of the airline tax-cut bill remains unclear, the #BoycottNRA movement is forging ahead, pushing tech giants that stream NRA-produced video such as Amazon, Google, Apple, and Roku to also cut ties with the NRA.

The NRA has released a statement that its members will not be intimidated by the boycotts. “Let it be absolutely clear,” the NRA’s statement said. “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.”

Image: Screenshot of a United Airlines ad

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