Delta airlines faces conservative backlash after scrapping NRA discount

Delta is one of many companies to pull discounts in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 27 February 2018 14:59
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Delta airlines ended its discount for National Rifle Association members.
Delta airlines ended its discount for National Rifle Association members.

A Georgia state official has said that Delta could lose out on any jet fuel tax breaks as a result of the airline discontinuing its discount for National Rifle Association (NRA) members.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle tweeted that he would “kill any legislation that benefits Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with NRA" and just hours later, the Georgia Senate blocked the $50m tax break bill that Delta had been seeking to renew after it had expired several years ago.

Delta’s decision was made a few weeks after the 14 February mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida during which 14 children and three adults were killed by a gunman using an AR-15 assault-style weapon.

Mr Cagle also tweeted: "Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."

A statement from the airline on the matter of ending the discount said: “Delta’s decision reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings. Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken this action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”

It is only one of a slew of companies that have ended their associations with the NRA in recent weeks.

In the wake of the tragedy, surviving students have been constantly and passionately advocating for an assault weapons ban and gun control reform through media appearances, tweets at politicians taking money from the NRA, lie-ins, marches, and a visit to the White House.

Calls for companies that associate with the NRA grew louder as the group’s President Wayne LaPierre said that gun control advocates, like the Parkland survivors, “hate freedom” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on 22 February.

US President Donald Trump has also been advocating for arming teachers with guns but did not discuss imposing a ban on assault-style weapons.

NRA chief Wayne LaPierre says elites don't care about America's children in wake of Florida shooting

The public attention has forced Enterprise, National, and Alamo car hire companies and the First National Bank of Omaha to end their discounts and promotions to NRA members as well. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has also decided to speak to major gun manufacturers in which it owns stakes after clients raised concerns about their investments.

The Lieutenant Governor said in a statement that companies like Delta have "viewpoint discrimination against conservatives and law-abiding gun owners.”

Mr Cagle said the resulting "political posturing" against the NRA and its members "will not solve mass shootings."

"Like all Americans, I'm horrified by the mass shootings we've witnessed. If Corporate America wants to make a positive difference on gun violence, it should donate a portion of its profits to mental health treatments and school safety initiatives. They should put their money where their mouth is," Mr Cagle's statement read.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's office nor Delta airlines have responded to requests for comment on Mr Cagle's threat as yet.

Delta is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and operates from one of the world's busiest airports - Hartfield Jackson Atlanta International. It is also one of the largest employers in the state.

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