Activists push Visa to drop NRA program

Gun control activists are pressing Visa to sever its business partnership with the National Rifle Association, saying credit giant’s affiliation with the powerful gun lobby is effectively funding opposition to stronger regulations.

Protestors gathered Thursday outside Visa’s Washington offices, delivering petitions signed by more than 5,100 people urging the company to end its “affinity” program with the NRA.

Members of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence claim purchases made with the NRA Visa card help fund the group’s efforts to block stronger gun protections, including expanded federal background checks for firearm purchases.

The group points to an NRA Web page encouraging its members to "DEFEND FREEDOM with the NRA ® Visa Card." The site tells members that every purchase helps fund NRA programs at no cost to them and says more than $20 million has been raised to date.

“We’re here to call out Visa for their relationship with the NRA,” said Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. “Why are they in bed with the NRA?”

Visa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

Haas met briefly with firm officials to hand off the petitions and press the group’s case.

“They listened, but made no comments of any substance,” she said afterward. “No commitment.”