Companies That Still Have Ties To The NRA

There was once a time when a National Rifle Association membership wasn't a political statement. The NRA was founded in 1871 by Civil War veterans, who were disgusted by — wait for it — the crappy marksmanship skills of the average United States soldier. They formed the group to promote "rifle shooting on a scientific basis," not as a voice for the second amendment. 

Times change. Today's NRA is either a symbol of gun rights in America or a symbol of gun deaths in America, depending on your perspective. And since the February 2018 Parkland shooting, divisiveness among those who are pro-NRA and anti-NRA has gotten a lot uglier. Companies that once proudly partnered with the gun rights group are now asking themselves if it's really worth the bad press to maintain — or sever — the relationship. Meanwhile, plenty of other companies still support the NRA, sometimes loudly, sometimes from a dark corner where they mostly just hope no one will notice them. 

There are a lot of powerful companies all over the world. Here's a list of the ones that still have ties to the NRA, though not all of them seem to want to say it out loud.

MidwayUSA says "yes way" to the NRA

It's no surprise that sporting goods and outdoors companies with large gun departments would continue to support the NRA, even in light of all the public backlash that came after the Parkland shooting. Their customer base took sides a long time ago, so there's not much incentive for them to change. Few existing customers of MidwayUSA, a hunting and outdoors retailer, are likely to take up the gun control rallying cry, and no new customers are likely to come out of the March for our Lives movement, either. 

So Midway — which describes itself as "an internet retailer of shooting, hunting and outdoor products" — was wholly unafraid to devote an entire page on its website to "supporting the NRA," declaring that "No company in America is more dedicated to, and more supportive of, the goals of the National Rifle Association than MidwayUSA." The page then goes on to describe the employees' NRA member nameplate stickers, just in case you were having some trouble picturing a gun shop staffed by people who support the NRA.

Bass Pro Shops won't be lured into a boycott

The bigger, badder version of the MidwayUSAs of the world is Bass Pro Shops, which has long been part store, part destination for families who aren't sure what else to do with their kids on a Saturday morning. The Bass Pro Shops giant superstores often feature enormous tanks full of live sport fish, taxidermied animals hunting down other taxidermied animals, and sometimes even waterfalls, shooting ranges, buffet-style restaurants, and yes, Starbucks. Bass Pro Shops (which owns the sporting goods store Cabela's) is also known for its well-stocked gun department and its continued support of the NRA, so we wouldn't be too surprised to hear that maybe there aren't quite as many bored families wandering the aisles on a Saturday morning as there used to be.

Despite public pressure, Bass Pro Shops continues to promote "NRA Freedom Days," where attendees can get discounts on gun purchases and extra perks for joining the NRA or renewing a membership. And Bass Pro Shops has yet to follow Dick's Sporting Goods' lead on ending sales of assault-style rifles in its stores.

Vinesse Wines may feel the grapes of the boycott's wrath

A wine company seems like an odd hold-out in favor of the gun lobby, but Vinesse Wines isn't like other wine companies. Declared "The Official Wine Club of the NRA," Vinesse sort of depends on NRA members to help keep it afloat, so it's not really that surprising to hear it's still at least half-heartedly behind the gun rights giant.

If any company could get an award for waffling, though, it's probably this one — according to ThinkProgress, shortly after the calls for a boycott began, the company pulled its "NRA Collector's Series" off its website and gave a rather non-committal statement about how managers were "looking into" the "whole NRA situation." But to date, Vinesse is still listed as the company behind the NRA wine club. Interestingly, however, you can't find the NRA wine club on the Vinesse website — for information, you have to go directly to the NRA Wine Club's official webpage.

Give Clearent some credit for their non-stance stance

Clearent probably thinks it can slide under the radar — it's a credit card processing company, which means it's not really well-known amongst consumers. But the 40 percent discount on card processing fees it offers to NRA Business Alliance members is considerable enough to give it a place of honor on the boycott list. Despite the unwanted public attention, Clearent still offers an NRA branded "Shooting Sports Payments Package," which makes it a lot cheaper for companies that sell guns to, well, sell guns.

Clearent has been mostly mute on the boycott, which is ironic when you consider that its website declares its commitment "to transparency," though in all fairness that's probably more about customer service and support than whether or not it has a partnership with the NRA. Still, Clearent's silence is not terribly comforting for either side of the debate — maybe it's hoping if it closes its eyes and wishes really hard, the whole thing will just blow over.

A few straggling health and insurance companies are standing by

eHealth, Medical Concierge Network, and Life Insurance Central are three health and insurance companies that still offer discounts and incentives to NRA members — Chubb Ltd. and MetLife Inc. have jumped ship, leaving members without access to "Carry Guard" insurance, which is meant to protect gun owners involved in "self-defense shootings," or discounted boat, motorcycle, and RV insurance.  

According to ThinkProgress, Life Insurance Central offers "higher coverage amounts" for life insurance policies purchased by NRA members, and Medical Concierge Network promises vague "specialized exclusive benefits," whatever that means. NRA members can purchase health insurance through the eHealth exchange, but there doesn't seem to be any publicly available information on just what sorts of discounts, if any, members might receive. Like Clarent, all three companies were mostly silent on the subject of the NRA — only Medical Concierge Network bothered to say "no comment" out loud instead of opting to just literally not comment.

FedEx will ship anyone's package

Big companies like FedEx aren't quite so adept at closing-their-eyes-and-wishing, because everyone knows their name and everyone who supports a boycott is looking in their direction. What's a poor, embattled shipping giant to do? FedEx has mostly gone with the "distance without division" strategy — according to ABC News, instead of reassuring consumers that it will no longer partner with the NRA, it just said "FedEx opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians" but that it "has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs, or positions on issues." 

Boycott supporters were, unsurprisingly, not very satisfied with that answer, prompting the company to backpedal even more, but still without committing to anything they might later regret. "FedEx has never provided any donation or sponsorship to the NRA," it said. "FedEx remains committed to all our customers and the pricing we provide them independent of their political affiliations and views." 

Lots of companies still offer NRA TV

Many of the big tech companies are boycott targets, too, not because they offer discounts to NRA members. Rather, it's because they give the gun rights giant a platform for NRA TV, which is sort of like Netflix for gun owners, only with more new releases.

According to Time, boycott advocates called for consumers to cancel their Amazon Prime memberships. Despite the fact that asking people to go without Amazon Prime is like asking them to stop using cellphones and breathing air, there were plenty of dedicated people who obliged. It's unclear just how many Prime cancellations will actually have to happen before Amazon starts to feel an actual wound rather than a series of sort of annoying mosquito bites, but you never know.

There were also calls for boycotts of YouTube, AppleTV, Chromecast, and Roku, which basically leaves no one left to provide streaming services. That means consumers will have to choose between binge-watching old episodes of Breaking Bad or standing by their principles. Change hurts.

Hyatt Regency and Omni Hotels are still sleeping on a response

These two hotels get a big push every year from the NRA national convention in Dallas, and both are still planning to host NRA events in May. Neither hotel chain has been particularly vocal about their decision, apparently preferring to stick with the closed-eyes policy of powering through public outrage.  

It's not just consumers who are annoyed by the presence of the NRA convention in Dallas — according to ABC News, even the pro tem mayor of Dallas is on board, urging the community to march and demonstrate if the NRA goes forward with its plans to hold the annual convention in their city.

Calls for the Omni Dallas to terminate its relationship with the NRA appeared on its Facebook page, but went entirely unanswered by hotel spokespeople. Posts on the Hyatt Regency Dallas's Facebook page went similarly unanswered. Whatever bold new PR strategy these two hotel chains are embracing hasn't made it into any business handbooks yet, but it's probably safe to categorize it as the "La la la, I can't hear you" theory of public relations.

HotelPlanner has no plans to stop supporting the NRA

HotelPlanner has taken the opposite approach from that of Hyatt and Omni, by unsubtly declaring that it is not interested in being "part of your boycott war," words that don't really seem designed to placate anyone. "We're about hospitality, welcoming all guests," CEO and co-founder Tim Hentschel told CNBC. Which is cool, but let's face it, doesn't really do much to set HotelPlanner apart from all the other bazillions of online hotel booking companies that are also "about hospitality, welcoming all guests." offers group discounts to NRA members, and says it will continue to do so because it believes in the power of love. Or something. 

"It's about bringing people together, which has always been our core business competency," Hentschel said. It's unclear exactly how HotelPlanner plans to unite the NRA and gun control advocates, or if that's really what Hentschel is talking about, but we just can't wait to find out how that one's going to pan out.

Vista Outdoor makes bike helmets, ski goggles, oh, and lots of guns

Vista Outdoor is the parent company behind CamelBak water bottles, Bell bicycle helmets, and Giro ski goggles. According to Bicycling, Vista Outdoor is also one of the largest manufacturers of guns and ammo in the United States. And it's a supporter of the NRA, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone.

But not everyone who bikes and skis is also into guns. After the Parkland shooting, 18,000 consumers signed an online petition and presented it to the outdoor retailer giant REI, urging it to cut ties with Vista Outdoor. In response, REI announced that it would stop ordering Vista products until the company took steps to address the demands of angry consumers. REI — which doesn't carry guns or ammunition in any of its stores — told Fortune that Vista's "silence" after the Parkland shooting was a big factor in its decision to stop ordering their products. And silence does appear to be somewhat epidemic when it comes to companies and their response to boycott threats. 

It's probably worth remembering that no problem was ever solved with the school of silent persuasion, no matter how popular it seems to be at this particular moment in time.