Only 13 people bought tickets with Delta's NRA discount

In wake of NRA flap, Delta reviewing all group discounts of a 'politically divisive nature'

Led by a Republican majority, state lawmakers passed a tax bill that excludes a jet fuel tax exemption created to benefit Delta, the state's largest private employer.

In the press release announcing the severance of the tie with NRA, Delta says the decision reflects the airline's neutral state in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings.

Georgia Republicans responded by removing the tax break, which would have been worth about $50 million.

Georgia lawmakers made the decision to eliminate the tax breaks after Delta said it would no longer offer NRA members discounts.

As the controversy swirled in Georgia during the week, other USA states offered themselves as a possible new Delta home-base, including direct pitches from the governors of CT and Virginia.

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Governor Nathan Deal on Friday signed the new tax reform bill into law. A number of US companies have rescinded discounts previously offered to NRA members.

Delta Airlines said Friday that they only sold 13 tickets under their group travel discount for the National Rifle Association.

"Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale", Bastian wrote in the memo.

"We are supporters of the 2nd Amendment, just as we embrace the entire Constitution of the United States", Delta's CEO Ed Bastian told staff in a memo.

Bastian attributed its new stance on the NRA to the group's "controversial statements" after a gunman killed 17 students and educators at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on February 14. But he put some of the blame on the airline, noting the jet fuel exemption wasn't controversial before Delta crossed the NRA.

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Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a Republican who is running for governor, said earlier in the week that companies can't "attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.".

Contacted Thursday, Whipple said he's serious and would work to facilitate any Delta presence, up to and including moving its headquarters from Atlanta. "Delta has more than 2,000 such contracts in place".

Governors from Connecticut, New York and Virginia have pitched their states to the airline through letters and tweets.

"We are proud and honored to locate our headquarters here", he said.

Georgia Republicans had criticized the airline's move to cut its ties to the NRA. Walmart, Kroger and Dick's Sporting Goods have tightened their gun sales policies.

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"I'm exhausted of conservatives being kicked around on our values and it's time that we stand up and fight and show corporations that conservative values are important", Cagle said Monday afternoon. That's a small cost for the nation's second-largest carrier, which paid US$5.7 billion for jet fuel and related taxes previous year and had revenue of more than US$41 billion.

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