After the Parkland shooting, many stood outside the NRA headquarters protesting for gun control (Image via ABC News)

Amazon and Apple Not Vocal During NRA Debate

Several companies have posted about cutting ties with the NRA after the Marjory Stoneman Douglass shooting, and Amazon and Apple haven’t said anything.

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After the Parkland shooting, many stood outside the NRA headquarters protesting for gun control (Image via ABC News)

Several companies have posted about cutting ties with the NRA after the Marjory Stoneman Douglass shooting, and Amazon and Apple haven’t said anything.

In light of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, once again there is the revival of the divided opinions on gun control and mental health, and some people will go as far as including racism in these discussions. Whichever opinion or angle you have, no one can deny that the death of 17 students and faculty members is a tragedy.

In response to the Parkland shooting, Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio were both questioned on responding to this issue and its recurrence a week after the gunman was tried in court.

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Rubio, in particular, was put in the spotlight when Cameron Kasky, a student leading a student movement to strengthen gun laws, asked if Rubio would accept donations from the National Rifle Association after this event. Rubio simply replied that the NRA agrees with his agenda and he does not agree with the agenda of the NRA.

While politicians are being pressured to change the current gun regulations, students are catalyzing the change to regulations now.

Although there have been many shootings in the past, students and companies have been even louder on social media after the Marjory Stoneman Douglass shooting. Students organized a nationwide walk out, and many local ones as well, on March 14 for about 17 minutes.

Likewise, companies have sent out Tweets about cutting their ties to the NRA. Both of these groups of people have taken it upon themselves to make it loudly known that the current regulation on guns is not sufficient enough and others, like politicians and the NRA, need to do something better.

Around the same time of Florida senators’ discussion, companies have been revoking the special rates or discounts to NRA members left and right, as a way to show their stance on actions taken in effect to make sure mass shootings like Marjory Stoneman Douglass or Sandy Hook do not happen again.

Most of the companies that did cut their ties with the NRA made the announcement public, like on Twitter. Some of the companies range from travel, such as Delta and United; to rental cars, like Hertz; to insurance, like TrueCar and SimpliSafe.

The Tweeted Reaction

As the Twitter feeds are blown up by Delta, United, Hertz, TrueCar and SimpliSafe, no one has seen a Tweet from Amazon or Apple. Amazon and Apple are not the only companies that have not cut ties with the NRA; Roku and FedEx have not as well.

The issue against the previous companies has primarily been about NRA TV, a channel created by the NRA that is streamed on several platforms, still being on these platforms. People have called for a boycott on these companies, a full 24 hours without using their services, to pressure these companies to remove NRA TV and other services they provide to the NRA, like FedEx’s special shipping rates to NRA members.

Although the boycott has not pushed these companies to remove NRA TV or change their services, FedEx and Roku have responded to the outcry.

First, FedEx made it clear that the company supports the constitutional right to own firearms, but FedEx also opposes assault rifles in civilian hands. However, since FedEx is considered a common carrier under federal law, FedEx released a statement explaining that FedEx cannot discriminate or change their policies for entities, such as the NRA, based on political views.

Second, Roku, as well as Amazon and Apple, were pressured by the #DumpNRATV trend on Twitter started by Moms Demand Action. Roku, however, responded that customers choose and control their channels and Roku will not censor channels based on viewpoint.

Furthermore, Roku welcomes Moms Demand Action to share their messages on Roku as well. The company concluded their statement by reminding people that Roku does not stream content that is unlawful or violate third-party rights, and NRA TV has not violated these terms.

What about Amazon and Apple?

The people have heard from two major companies about their stance on the shootings and gun regulations after their lack of change in gun regulations. But the people still have not heard anything from Amazon or Apple.

Just like Roku, Amazon and Apple also have streaming services for their users, and Amazon and Apple both stream NRA TV as well. Because these companies are huge and influential to a wide range of people, it makes sense why people, like Moms Demand Action, want to boycott Amazon and Apple to bring in major players to this call for change.

Unfortunately, Amazon and Apple have not said anything about taking off NRA TV or reiterate their stance on the issue of gun regulations being effective or about other ties to the NRA.

Brayden King, a professor of management and organization from Northwestern University, explained in an article on Fast Company why Amazon will not be swayed by a mere boycott. I believe the same can be applied to Apple.

King explained that boycotts are effective; about 1/4 of boycotts result in national media attention and prompt change to the entity in question. Boycotts are most effective when a company’s values are in question, and King referred to United Airlines as an example after the scandal of dragging a passenger out of a plane.

Amazon, however, is not United and has a strong reputation, so a boycott on Amazon will not change anyone’s mind about using the website. Amazon and Apple are both reliable companies to its customers, and customers are unlikely to stop using Amazon or Apple altogether because the companies stream NRA TV. “That’s great for [the CEO] and annoying for activists,” King said.

Although people have yet to hear from Amazon and Apple themselves about this and they may not ever say anything about gun regulations, social media, especially Twitter, definitely stirred something within the American people to pressure change from companies and politicians themselves.

Students, companies and activists have had enough of this lack of change and have not been idle yet about pressuring politicians to change the current gun regulations.

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Natalya Pomeroy

University of Houston

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