First National Bank Of Omaha Drops NRA Partnership & It’s The First Major Brand To Take That Step
According to reports, a week following the deadly school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Omaha's First National Bank is nixing the NRA Visa cards it previously offered to its patrons. The bank has decided to stop offering the cards, which are officially branded by the NRA, because of "consumer feedback."
The NRA's role in American politics is never more controversial, or draws more scrutiny, than in the immediate aftermath of high-profile mass shootings. For its part, the organization tends to keep a somewhat low profile immediately after such events take place; for example, its official Twitter account went six days without a single post following the shooting, from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20.
While it's impossible to know for sure just how much negative feedback the bank received to help prompt this decision, it's not exactly surprising. Thanks in part to the aggressive activism of many of the survivors of the Parkland shooting, the incident hasn't faded from the national consciousness as previous mass shootings have, and that's resulted in a ton of focus on gun reform proposals, the vast majority of which the NRA stridently opposes.
The First National Bank of Omaha announced the end of its NRA Visa cards on its official Twitter account on Thursday morning, stating that it won't be renewing its licensing contract with the NRA.
According to ThinkProgress, the advertisement web page for the card ― reportedly referred to as the "official credit card of the NRA" ― was defunct as of Wednesday. The bank provided the following statement to HuffPost on Thursday, similarly framing the decision as an issue of not renewing a contract with the pro-gun organization:
Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA Visa Card.
Although the page was reportedly pulled down by Wednesday, the news broke on Thursday, the day after a contentious and high-profile CNN town hall event on guns. The event matched up several surviving students from Stoneman Douglas High School against Republican Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, among others.
The NRA is more than a century old, and has long been considered one of the most powerful lobbying and special interest groups in the country. It reportedly boasts approximately 5 million members ― that's the number the NRA itself has claimed. As such, it's not surprising that some of its supporters would opt for an NRA-themed credit card, much less from a bank based in Nebraska, a historically deep red state. For a sense of perspective, the state voted to elect Donald Trump president by a 25-point margin in 2016.
That said, however, First National Bank of Omaha says this decision was rooted in feedback from customers, which could reflect the renewed force with which gun violence has been thrust back into the national spotlight. In fact, online retailer Amazon came under fire on Thursday for making the NRA's online channel NRAtv available on its Amazon Fire TV streaming service. A hashtag aimed at convincing Amazon to break off from NRAtv subsequently got started, although it's unclear whether the company will make any changes.
In any case, there's now one fewer place to pick up an officially licensed bit of NRA memorabilia, in the form of a custom credit card, than there previously was. It's likely that the current national focus on gun violence will be ongoing for some time, as there's a major demonstration scheduled for March 24, titled the March for Our Lives.