|CSGV DELIVERS 5,100 PETITION SIGNATURES TO VISA DEMANDING THEY END AFFILIATE CARD RELATIONSHIP WITH NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION
|Washington, DC—Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) staff and gun violence prevention activists from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia delivered more than 5,100 petition signatures to Visa’s D.C. offices today, calling on them to end their affiliate (credit) card program with the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Purchases made with the NRA Visa Card help fund “legislative action in support of…Second Amendment rights.” In practice, that means that Visa is helping to pay for NRA lobbyists who advocate against common-sense policies like background checks on gun buyers, and for dangerous legislation like “Stand Your Ground” laws. According to the NRA, the cards have helped to raise more than $20 million to date.
The delegation was led by two survivors of gun violence, CSGV organizer Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot and injured during the Virginia Tech massacre; and Project End Gun Violence (PEG) Chair Eddie Weingart, who is observing the 33rd anniversary of the loss of his mother in a gun-related homicide this week. Only Haas and CSGV executive director Josh Horwitz were actually allowed to enter Visa’s D.C. offices at 1300 Connecticut Ave NW. Building security locked the doors and barred the rest of the group, despite the fact that the building is normally open to the public.
Haas delivered the petition signatures to Jennifer Morris, Visa’s Senior Business Leader, U.S. Public Affairs/Global Corporate Relations, and asked her the following questions:
1) National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent recently called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and a “chimpanzee.” Do you agree with his remarks? Do you believe that people who say such things should be treated as credible actors?
2) Visa’s corporate responsibility statement on your website talks about “the importance of supporting the local communities and neighborhoods in which we all live and work.” Do you believe you are furthering that goal by helping to fund NRA lobbying for “Stand Your Ground” laws, among other questionable policies?
3) Will you commit to terminating Visa’s affinity card relationship with the NRA?
Morris accepted the petition signatures, but refused to answer any of the questions posed by Haas.
“I appreciate that Ms. Morris was willing to speak to me, but disappointed that she had nothing to say in response to the important questions I posed,” said Haas. “Visa needs to take responsibility for their support of dangerous NRA policies. Most Visa customers would tell the company that paying for NRA lobbyists is not ‘Anywhere They Want to Be.’ We will not conclude our campaign until Visa’s affinity relationship with the NRA is terminated, permanently.”
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.