Lee: Private companies rush in where Congress fears to tread



Mike Fiorille, business partner at Get Loaded, serves a customer at the gun store on June 30, 2016, in Grand Terrace, Calif. State lawmakers on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, gutted a measure that would have limited rifle purchases in the state. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Companies disowning the NRA and ending firearm sales is likely as effective as any legislation this government would put in place.

Ella Lee

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The Parkland shooting has undoubtedly sparked a revolution. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump proclaimed that he would be in favor of resurrecting gun-control legislation opposed by his party and the NRA, saying, “It would be so beautiful to have one bill that everyone could support. It’s time that a president stepped up.”

As reported by The New York Times, the president also called for “gun-control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the Internet, keeping guns from mentally ill people, securing schools, and restricting gun sales for some young adults, and starting a conversation on an assault-weapons ban.”

Our government is not solely composed of Trump, however, and our congressional branch is ferociously pro-gun. Without Congress’ support, the president will not be able to get any bill passed, and it has been made clear that the NRA’s Congress has no intention of backing gun reform.

Although members of Congress work for the people in their districts, they often choose to make laws that favor of their  largest donors rather than their constituents. When a government stops listening to its people, reform begins to seem improbable.

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But we do not need the lawmakers. If the people band together with a common goal of ending gun violence in America, we can begin gun reform by ourselves.

As of Thursday, the following businesses have cut ties with the NRA: the First National Bank of Omaha, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent a Car, Hertz, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Paramount RX. These are just a few of the many businesses that have severed connections with the NRA, revoking discounts for members of the association.

The NRA has labeled their actions as “a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.” This couldn’t be any further from the truth. With big companies courageously taking a stand against an organization that has dictated the gun conversation for more than a century, change becomes plausible.

Following in the footsteps of the companies who left the NRA, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart — two of the nation’s leading gun sellers — took measures to improve gun safety on Wednesday.

Dick’s Sporting Goods’ chief executive, Edward Stack, has chosen to immediately end all sales of assault weapons and will ban gun sales to anyone under 21, regardless of municipal laws.

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“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Stack said in an interview with the Times. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘Enough is enough.’ It got to us.”

Walmart will raise the minimum age for firearm and ammunition purchases to 21.

Imagine what would happen if every gun-selling company were to follow in the footsteps of those listed above. The restrictions that these companies have placed on their firearms are likely just as effective as the restrictions our government would put in place, should it ever give in to the pressure to act.

By ostracizing the NRA and putting company-enforced restrictions in place sans Congress, we force its hand: It must do more. If baseline gun control is in place, then the laws Congress will work on must take the work we’ve done to the next level. And if it doesn’t act, we vote the members out.

A revolution can only be successful when all supporters band together and refuse to give up until victorious. Let’s unite, and with our actions, show Congress that when we say “Never Again,” we mean it.






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