New Paltz Leaves FedEx on the Doorstep

The Village and Town of New Paltz have elected to end their relationship with FedEx due to their continued support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) after unanimously passing a resolution calling upon federal officials to respond in light of recent gun violence.

The resolution calling on state and federal elected officials to act now to eradicate the use of firearms in mass shootings and unlawful acts of violence was authored by City of Kingston Councilman Rennie Scott-Childress and passed after minor edits by the Village Council and Town Board.

The resolution asks federal and state officials to “Expand current state and federal procedures for the safe registration, licensing, and possession of firearms; establish insurance protections that ensure that the owners of firearms used in both intentional and accidental firearm death and injury are financially responsible for such events.” 

“Refuse campaign contributions from all FOGs and the NRA and return any such contributions they have received in the past; develop legal procedures by duly appointed legal officials for the removal of firearms from individuals deemed to pose a threat to themselves, their domestic partners, or others; increase funding available for school and other programs that increase empathy and community involvement, such as that of Rachel’s Challenge whose mission is to make ‘schools safer, more connected places where bullying and violence are replaced with kindness and respect; prevent our public schools from becoming armed camps rather than places of nurture, learning, and community building; ban the production, sale, and possession of all classes of weapons that do not serve the specific uses of licensed collectors, personal protection and sport shooting; and repeal the Dickey amendment which prohibits the federal Centers for Disease and Prevention Control from studying the epidemic of firearm violence.”

This resolution was also sent to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Senator John Bonacic, State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, County Executive Michael Hein, City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble, Scott-Childress (the primary author of this resolution), Ulster County Legislative Chair Kenneth Ronk, Ulster County Legislator Hector Rodriguez and Ulster County Legislator James Delaune.

According to Mayor of New Paltz Tim Rogers, the resolution, passed on March 14, speaks to the concerns of the Village Council and Town Board that we need to take a harder look at the gun control laws in this country. He added that this boycott against FedEx was meant to memorialize this resolution.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based shipping company is continuing to offer discounts to NRA members despite other major companies severing their ties with the NRA such asDelta Airlines, United Airlines, Hertz, Metlife and SimpliSafe among others. They stated that FedEx “has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs or positions on issues.”

This refusal to end the NRA discount resulted in the creation of a #BoycottFedEx hashtag on Twitter. Hudson County in New Jersey is also participating in this boycott, according to The Jersey Journal. According to Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Hudson County has spent over $60,000 over the course of the past three years. 

The Village and Town of New Paltz gives FedEx approximately $600 a year for distributing materials and general work, although this is a small sum compared to the municipality in New Jersey, the Village Council and Town Board felt that FedEx’s relationship with the NRA through the NRA Business Alliance is troubling in light of the Parkland shooting.

According to a letter to Frederick W. Smith, Chairman of FedEx from the Town Board and Village Council the NRA accepts millions of dollars from gun manufacturers every year to “advance an extremist pro-gun agenda.”

In the letter the Town and Village cited the walkout that day at both New Paltz Central High School and here at SUNY New Paltz showing solidarity to those who have lost their lives to gun violence.

The letter ended with the following statement, “We ask that you show the same courage as the young members of our community and that you reconsider your position.”