If the death of 20 first graders, the shooting of Rep. Giffords and the San Bernardino massacre did not drive federal gun safety laws, nothing will. After the San Bernardino massacre, lawmakers would not even ban people on the Terror Watch List from buying guns actually placing “gun rights” over our right to be safe from terrorists!
Yet it took about a week for Indiana lawmakers to change their mind about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others threatened to pull their convention business. And American Airlines, PayPal, Wells Fargo and the NBA will no doubt have a similar effect on LGBT discrimination laws that states are currently trying to enact.
What is the difference? Money. Lawmakers can and do ignore calls and vigils from gun violence victims but when PayPal threatens to pull its $3.6-million, 400-job project or the NBA its 2017 All-Star game lawmakers wake up and smell the coffee. No state wants to be an economic island. (And remember how quickly the NFL reversed tolerance of domestic violence after hearing from sponsors like Anheuser-Busch and the Radisson hotel chain?)
US corporations are twice hypocrites. First they speak out on LGBT rights and domestic violence but are mute on the need for laws to mitigate the gun violence epidemic that kills 82 people a day in the US—and accounts for the majority of domestic violence. And secondly, they allow gun carriers in their stores, restaurants or outlets while clearly banning them in corporate offices.
Just as 90 percent of the nation deplores LGBT discrimination, 90 percent of the nation wants sane gun laws like universal background checks. (Currently any criminal can buy a gun at a gun show.) Major chains like Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Target, Whole Foods, Peet’s, Ikea, Disneyland, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Toys R US and the AMC and Cinemark theaters recognize customers do not want to enter an armed zone and dine or shop next to “carriers” without even knowing it. But few have the courage to outright ban guns.
And there is more hypocrisy. Last week, the same gun rights absolutists who say gun-free zones kill because armed good guys can’t stop armed bad guys “suddenly got religion when it came to armed delegates in a convention hall in Cleveland,” says the New Yorker. Hey, those things kill. In 2015, Trump’s own hotel in Chicago had a “no guns” sign.
No, lawmakers don’t and won’t listen to gun violence victims no matter how many vigils we hold. They think people on the Terror Watch List have gun rights. But they do listen to corporate America which can make their state an economic island as we saw with Indiana and currently are seeing with North Carolina and Mississippi.