BUTLER, Pa. — A Western Pennsylvania sheriff has issued an order within his department to not conduct county sheriff business with any of the corporations that have decided to cut ties with members of the National Rifle Association.
Sheriff Michael Slupe's order, released April 3, read as follows: "Though I cannot dictate which companies you utilize in your personal life, I can and am going to dictate which companies the Butler County Sheriff's Office will not use.
"When making arrangements for any extradition or stay over that you are scheduling, the below companies will not be permitted to be used:
"Airlines: Delta and United
"Hotels: Wyndam Group of Hotels, which includes: Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Dolce Hotels & Resorts, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Microtel Inn & Suites, and Ramada.
"Rental Vehicles: Enterprise Holdings, which includes Enterprise, National, and Alamo.
"Also not permitted to use is Avis and Hertz.
"These companies made the choice to boycott the NRA for whatever their reason(s) are, so, I am making the choice not to support them.
"This order takes effect immediately."
On the corporate response of punishing NRA members in their affiliate programs after the Parkland, Florida, high school mass shooting, Slupe said: "I believe it is important to send a message as a department that we support the members of our community that are members of the NRA that have had nothing to do with any of the shootings, yet they are the face of the blame in the eyes of corporate America."
He added: "While I cannot tell people what to in their personal choices outside of the county sheriff department, I can direct this department to not use the services of these corporations who made the choice to punish NRA members."
Sheriff Slupe was first elected into office in 2009, the first Republican to hold the seat in nearly three decades. He won the election by 69 percent of the vote over his Democratic opponent. He won again in 2013 and last November, both times receiving over 98 percent of the vote. To date, Slupe has received no complaints from his constituents or his deputies.
Slupe said: "I don't believe the NRA is responsible for any of these tragedies that have occurred, as a matter of fact, the NRA is more about education and safety than any group out there. So when these companies decided to boycott the NRA, for whatever their reasons I have a problem with that."
He did put an asterisk in his order that says if the hotels are independently owned, like the Days Inn in Butler, they will not be part of the boycott. He said: "I know the owner. He's an independent, he's a businessman. I won't have a problem with having my people go to an independently owned hotel in one of these groups. But if it's not, they aint using 'em."
In the aftermath of mass shootings in this country, the pattern of behavior has been grass-roots activists demanding gun control laws and gun rights groups including the NRA responding with reasons why they oppose gun control laws.
After the school shooting in Parkland in February, student survivors responded with a call for a movement and boycotts, resulting in rallies across the country one month later, several retailers introducing restrictions on gun sales at their stores, and other companies such as Delta Airlines, Hertz and Wyndham Hotels announcing cuts on discounts for NRA members.
The corporate and political movement has escalated against NRA members; earlier this month, the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said: "We're issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum — they can have a mortgage market that includes America's teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers. They can't do both."
Bank of America will stop lending to manufacturers of "military-style firearms" that are sold for civilian use, Vice Chairman Anne Finucane revealed on Bloomberg Television last week. After internal discussions with the bank's gun-manufacturing clients, it decided it will no longer finance their operations.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell introduced a proposal in late March asking city staffers to arrange a list of businesses that have a "formal relationship" with the NRA and then discuss ways to boycott business with them. That edict includes FedEx, who is working with the city Harbor Department to operate a warehouse and office space. To date, FedEx has not caved to the pressure from gun control advocates to stop providing discounted shipping for members of the NRA.
Slupe says he understands his effort is tiny in scope compared to the economic impact it will have to those goliath efforts of the big corporations, unions and large-city administrations: "We all make choices. Their decision was to cut their ties with the NRA for one reason or another. And I'm not bad-mouthing them. They made a choice. So I'm gonna make a choice. And we're not gonna use these companies to do our work."