How To Cut Off The Slaughter Lobby’s Money Stream

UPDATED 2-24-2018 Today United and Delta have cut ties with the NRA. Parkland students ask spring breakers not to come to Florida unless gun legislation is passed.

As my friend Eric Milgram, spokesperson for the Newtown Action Alliance has said, make this an economic issue. Make the firearms industry pay the full costs of the damage their products do.

I’ve shown in the past with right-wing radio hosts that corporations don’t like to be associated with a toxic brand. But they often need a negative news event about the group or person to cut ties.

The Parkland shooting was another occasion for activists to ask corporations, “Do you still want to associate with the NRA brand?”  Today 16 of them said no.

My friend Amanda Gaily, president of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, put it this way.

“It’s time to withdraw support from the slaughter lobby.” 

It is possible to convince folks in any state to pull away from the NRA.  The First National Bank of Omaha in Nebraska did so this week.

The NRA will respond to corporations withdrawing support, probably by threatening the companies that have left, and the ones who are standing with them.

Some NRA members might be smart and try and entice the companies they still have by buying more of their product, but based on my experience, they prefer to punish and intimidate when they don’t get their way.

I always told the people I trained to be polite and not threaten anyone, you don’t want to punish your future ally! Just remind them of what they say their values are and ask if they line up with what this person or group is saying. It’s their decision.

When I was researching gun sign policies for private businesses I talked to retail people about the armed men who showed up to talk to managers about “What a mistake she is making by not allowing guns in the store.”  Of course he wasn’t hoping bad things would happen, but it would be a shame if bad guys with guns showed up and he wasn’t there.

This has worked successfully in the past. After the Trayvon Martin shooting, some of my very smart, strategic friends at Color of Change and The Center for Media and Democracy pointed out to corporations the role the NRA had in creating the expanded Castle Doctrine laws that led to Martin’s death.

They contacted the right people inside those corporations and said, “Look, the NRA used you.  ALEC used you. That dead black teen and the man who got away with his murder was made possible by the laws ALEC pushed for the NRA. Your financial support made it all possible. Now is the time to leave.” Dozens of them left. The first one was hard, but then it became a waterfall.

Here is another economic leverage idea coming from Parkland Students.

Losing corporate money isn’t going to kill the gun lobby, they will still get multi-million dollar checks from the gun and bullet makers as well as money from Russia. But it’s bad PR for the NRA and the start of the waterfall of disassociation from the NRA.

When North Carolina lost business because of a bathroom bill that had an impact on the lawmakers. I’ve found that when you interrupt companies’ revenue streams they get very upset and will act quickly to restore them. The liquor lobby can put pressure on the congress people. This is a perfect opportunity to get them on board. Guns and alcohol don’t mix. “Hey, Senator, this will cut into my spring break beer sales. Don’t forget, we give you money too.”

Interrupting the revenue stream of politicians from other lobbying sources could make them defying the NRA.

Losing corporate support is bad PR for a trade group. But As Dr. Z, my public relations professor said, “Dead kids are bad PR.” Refusing to do anything about what killed the kids is worse.

Since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High, at least 69 kids under 18 have been shot. 26 of them were killed. Those numbers are from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive #NeverAgain

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