Gun Debate Triggers Corporate Response

In the wake of the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting in Florida, many companies are taking a stand against the National Rifle Association. Companies are taking it upon themselves to be proactive in the gun control movement in the absence of government intervention.

The public’s response to the gun control debate has been diverse and extreme on both sides of the debate. Many people are using social media, especially Twitter, to call for change and to express their opinions.

 

On Feb. 28, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would stop selling military-style rifles such as the AR-15.  Walmart and even Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain that owns Fred Meyer stores, followed suit and declared that they will no longer sell guns and ammunition to anyone under 21. This move to increase the purchasing age of guns and ammunition also sparked controversy among some pro-gun groups.

These companies decided to trigger change in the fierce gun control debate. Many consumers are praising their efforts to take action. But, many others are upset with corporations creating their own gun restrictions. Companies are even receiving backlash for cutting ties with the NRA. Delta experienced backlash from government officials and the community for distancing themselves from the NRA.

Apple and Amazon have already been threatened with a boycott over their relationship with the NRA. Both services offer the NRA TV channel available for streaming through their subscription  services. Some are also calling for the boycott of FedEx, a part of the NRA Business Alliance that offers discounts through the FedEx Advantage program.

What is the correct public relations stance for these companies? Especially, when it is hard to please both sides.

Many companies are either cutting ties with the NRA or haven’t taken any stance on the issue in what is believed as a move to remain neutral. But elebrities and social influencers are calling for company boycotts. Leading companies to debate their position on the topic.

What do you think the proper public relations response is for these corporate players?

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