Delta will maintain its main headquarters in Atlanta, despite a political battle that broke out with the state legislature after the company sought to sever some of its ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) following the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“While Delta’s intent was to remain neutral, some elected officials in Georgia tied our decision to a pending jet fuel tax exemption, threatening to eliminate it unless we reversed course. Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale,” the company’s CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement on Friday. “None of this changes the fact that our home is Atlanta and we are proud and honored to locate our headquarters here.”
The U.S. flight carrier was one of many companies that announced it would end its discount for NRA members after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, during which 17 people were killed. After the shooting, where victims were massacred by an AR-15 style rifle, the NRA forcefully spoke out against new calls for gun restrictions.
Delta also asked the NRA to remove its name and logo from the organization’s website.
In response, the state’s Republican Lt. Gov. threatened to “kill” a $50 million sales tax that provides airlines an exemption on jet fuel.
The state legislature overwhelmingly passed the measure this week.Delta is one of Georgia’s largest employers. In the wake of the decision, other states had lobbied to become the new site for Delta’s headquarters, including New York, Virginia, Alabama and Ohio.
Bastian maintains that in cutting its affiliation with the pro-gun rights group, Delta tried to remove itself from the gun control debate. He said the company is reevaluating the group discounts it offers to any organization that is politically divisive in nature.