The multinational shipping company FedEx has ended its marketing relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA), which allowed NRA members to get up to a 26% discount on shipping, because the deal has not produced enough volume to make it worthwhile, said the company, which noted that for the same reason it is ending similar deals with 100 other companies.
FedEx's announcement was made on Oct. 30, four days after the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed. FedEx stated that its decision had nothing to do with the tragic shooting, according to numerous media reports, including in the New York Times and Reuters.
An internal review of its Marketing Alliance Program showed that customers using the NRA and other discount programs were not providing enough volume, according to FedEx.
In a statement, the $65-billion company said, “We are transitioning some account holders in more than 100 organizations in the FedEx Marketing Alliance program to other pricing programs. Account holders that participated in the program will continue to receive the same discounts on FedEx shipping, and we will work directly with these customers to ensure a seamless transition.”
Although the NRA arrangement has ended, customers who previously signed on to the program will still be able to receive the discount, according to FedEx. But there will be no new customer discounts going forward.
After the horrific shooting at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, gun-control advocates pressured companies to end their discount deals with the NRA and its several million members.
Some of the companies that succumbed to the pressure include Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Enterprise, Hertz, Avis and Budget.
FedEx refused to end its arrangement with the NRA despite the lobbying by gun-control advocates. In a Feb. 26, 2018 statement, FedEx said, "FedEx has never provided any donation or sponsorship to the NRA which is one of hundreds of alliance and association participants that serve more than one million customers. FedEx remains committed to all our customers and the pricing we provide them independent of their political affiliations and views."
However, the shipping company also said that its views on gun ownership were different than the NRA's views. "FedEx opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians," said the company on Feb. 27. "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."
"We therefore support restricting them to the military," said FedEx. "Most important, FedEx believes urgent action is required at the local, state, and Federal level to protect schools and students from incidents such as the horrific tragedy in Florida on February 14th."
As for the boycotts against the companies that have NRA discount deals, the NRA said, “The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s [Parkland's] security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement. Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.”
“Let it be absolutely clear," said the NRA. "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.”