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Over the backdrop of the February shooting at the Parkland school comes a new development in the US gun control debate. Bank of America will stop lending money to gun manufacturers that make military-inspired firearms for civilian use, such as the AR-15-style rifles that have been used in multiple mass shootings, a company executive said. This move follows Citigroup’s announcement last month that it would require business customers to restrict certain types of firearms sales.
According to nytimes.com, there are few investor-owned gun makers in the United States. One of them, American Outdoor Brands Corporation, which owns the Smith & Wesson brand, has seen its stock shed half its value in the past year. Another, Sturm, Ruger & Company, has fared much better, dipping only slightly. Both companies make AR-15-style rifles.
For now, Bank of America will continue to offer banking services to firearms retailers. Asking gun shops to stop selling certain types of handguns or long guns “gets into civil liberties” and is “a ways off,” said the Bank vice chairwoman, Anne M. Finucane.
Many businesses scaled back their exposure to guns following the shooting event, however, Wall Street, with its many ties to the gun industry, was slower to act.
In March, Citigroup was the first big bank to issue a new firearms policy, requiring clients in the gun industry to stop selling to customers who have not passed a background check or are younger than 21. Citigroup also bars clients who use its lending, banking or capital-raising services from selling bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.