After the massacre that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a boycott against the National Rifle Association has dominated the news. The “Never Again” movement, a policy goal for stricter background checks for fun buyers, and the boycott against the NRA are fueled by digital media exposure and attention on social media. Digital media and social media has allowed for the formation of coalitions that have now spread nationwide to promote gun control. According to the New York Times, social media has provided a voice to individuals trying to make a statement, activist organizations sensing a shift in sentiment, informal parents’ clubs, marketing executives, niche media groups, celebrities, and survivors of this shooting and past shootings.
The numerous movements that have resulted from this tragedy are driven through a collection of Twitter hashtags, retweeted lists, Facebook groups, online petitions, online campaigns, etc. Several car rental companies, two airlines, and other businesses publicly cut ties with the NRA and announced it via digital media. Similarly, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart both released statements that they will no longer sell assault-style rifles. Both companies received massive amounts of feedback and backlash on Facebook and Twitter about their actions. Individuals and groups flooded social media with comments in support of this decision, and also against this decision.
The hashtag that unified the movement against the NRA is #BoycottNRA. On Monday, over 10,000 tweets were made about this topic in just a four-hour period. However, this is not a new hashtag or movement. It began after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012. This movement is successfully pressuring big companies to cut their ties with the NRA.
The outreach of this campaign, due to social media, is massive. It has spread to Hollywood and celebrities who have thousands of followers, spreading the word even further.
Those that are pro-gun have also voiced their opinion through social media. Many gun rights supporters have been posting and using the hashtag #TweetYourNRAMembership.