The left is in a tizzy over this week’s news that FedEx was ending its discount program with the National Rifle Association (NRA). In fact, ThinkProgress sounded as if they were taking credit for it, saying, “The move comes eight months after ThinkProgress reported its support of the gun lobby.” So is this story legitimate? Is FedEx really jumping on the bandwagon after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and blacklisting the NRA? Let’s take a look. (Reuters)
Mass shootings happen in an instant and grab headlines. A business and investment shift away from the firearms industry is happening more subtly. FedEx, the U.S. shipping group, is ending a program that offers discounts for business members of the National Rifle Association, the company confirmed to Breakingviews.
It’s a quiet reversal: eight months ago, FedEx stood by the gun-rights lobby group as other companies scrapped deals. They were reacting to the NRA’s stance after 17 students and staff members were murdered at a Florida high school by a former student. Companies including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and car-rental firm Enterprise swiftly ended member discounts. At the time, FedEx said that while assault rifles of the kind used in most American mass shootings shouldn’t be in civilian hands, it did not believe in “discriminating” between organizations it works with.
Wow. To read the introduction to that Reuters article it certainly sounds as if FedEx is cutting ties with the NRA. And coming so close on the heels of the last mass shooting, that’s clearly the impression you’re meant to take away. There’s just one problem with this story. FedEx is denying it entirely.
You have to dig down a bit through the article before it’s mentioned, but what’s really happening here sounds like a shift in their discount program which has been in the works for a while. And it doesn’t only apply to the NRA. A FedEx spokesperson said that the decision had nothing to do with this or any other shooting and was simply a matter of the NRA discount program not bringing in enough business. With that in mind, the NRA is one of literally dozens of companies who are being moved into “new pricing programs” as of November 4th. These plans appear to spread out discount plans across multiple partners for those who don’t generate enough FedEx business to justify the discounts.
Also, the company began sending out notifications to all of these partners at the beginning of October, well before the synagogue shooting. So it appears that gun grabbing groups may be celebrating prematurely and congratulating FedEx for something they didn’t actually do. As far as the conservative response goes, if FedEx wasn’t making money on the discount program and wants to modify it, that sounds like a totally legitimate free market decision to me.