As companies across America take a stand on guns after the Florida school massacre, Delta Air Lines withstood swift political retribution in its home state of Georgia for cutting ties with the National Rifle Association. Ignoring warnings that the state’s business-friendly image could be tarnished, Republicans in the state legislature voted Thursday to kill a tax break that would have saved Delta millions of dollars in sales tax on jet fuel. The proposal wasn’t controversial until Delta announced last weekend it would no longer offer discounted fares to NRA members.
“I hope they are better at flying airplanes than timing P.R. announcements,” Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, said after his chamber gave final approval to a larger tax-cut bill that was stripped of the jet fuel tax exemption.
The Feb. 14 slayings of 17 students and educators in Parkland, Florida, by a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle has prompted retailers including Walmart, Kroger and Dick’s Sporting Goods to tighten their gun sales policies. Meanwhile, Delta and other companies including MetLife and Hertz have ended business ties with the NRA.