Big banks take a stand against gun rights
It is becoming fashionable for large private sector companies to enact policies denying or otherwise infringing on individual Second Amendment rights. Among those companies: Bank of America and Citigroup. As the NRA notes:
According to Citigroup’s new policy, the nation’s fourth largest bank will withhold business from companies that fail to sufficiently curtail the Second Amendment rights of their customers. Specifically, the policy requires “new retail sector clients or partners” to refrain from selling standard-capacity magazines, to prohibit the sale of firearms to law-abiding adults aged 18 to 20 years-old, and to ignore a vital statutory safety valve provision that permits a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) to transfer a firearm three days after a background check has been initiated. Citigroup has also stated that it will further scrutinize the firearms manufacturers they do business with.
Bank of America’s policy targets firearms manufacturing. During an April 10 interview with Bloomberg Television, Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne M. Finucane announced that the company no longer intends to lend money to firearms manufacturers that produce certain configurations of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Making clear that Bank of America only opposes civilian access to semi-automatic firearms, Finucane stressed to the anti-gun news outlet that the bank will no longer finance “military-style firearms” for “civilian use.”
In a March 22 blog post announcing Citigroup’s policy change, Citigroup Executive Vice President of Global Public Affairs Ed Skyler lamented that politicians have been too reticent to trample upon the rights of their constituents, and that this respect for the U.S. Constitution prompted Citigroup to act. Before joining Citigroup, Skyler worked for the administration of New York City Mayor and gun control financier Michael Bloomberg.
Skyler also made clear that Citigroup intends to “convene those in the financial services industry and other stakeholders” to push their anti-gun agenda. In a sentence sure to pique the interest of antitrust regulators, Skyler noted that the financial giant “hope[s] to leverage [the] collective action” of financial institutions in order to foist their restrictions on “all who sell firearms.” Using proper gun control advocate vernacular, Skyler referred to Citigroup’s new restrictions as “common-sense.”
In relation to Citigroup’s restriction on standard-capacity magazines and Bank of America’s attack on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, both private and publicly funded studies have determined that such measures would be ineffective. Most recently, a report from the Rand Corporation, titled “The Science of Gun Policy,” examined the available research on a host of gun control proposals. Rand found that the evidence of the effects of bans on the sale of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and standard-capacity magazines was “inconclusive.” A 2013 Department of Justice National Institute of Justice survey of the available research determined that in order to have any potential impact, a ban on standard capacity magazines would need to be coupled with an “extensive” confiscation effort.
Some in Congress are not amused:
On March 29, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), who sit on the Senate Banking Committee, issued a stern warning to Citigroup CEO Michael L. Corbat. Sen. Kennedy urged Citigroup to refrain from “penalizing Americans who choose to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights,” and instead to focus on the company’s many shortcomings. Sen. Kennedy also reminded Corbat that “The very fact that Citi remains operational is due entirely to the generosity of the American taxpayers.”
According to an article from Politico, Sen. Kennedy has also urged the General Services Administration to cease its relationship with the bank. Moreover, the office of Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) is reported to have taken a significant interest in Citigroup’s anti-gun policy.
It's important to remember that the banks are free to establish their policies, and enact them as they see fit within the law. But customers of those banks who also happen to be Second Amendment supporters are equally free to take their accounts, and other financial business, elsewhere. Permanently.