Bank of America will no longer do business with gun companies that manufacture AR-15s and similar assault weapons

The decision makes Bank of America the second major bank in the US to take action after the Parkland shooting

Clark Mindock
Clark Mindock
Wednesday 11 April 2018 16:09
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Bank of America is the second major US bank to change its gun manufacturer policies
Bank of America is the second major US bank to change its gun manufacturer policies

The second largest bank in the United States will no longer lend money to gun manufacturers that create AR-15s and similar “assault-style” semi-automatic weapons following the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Anne M Finucane, vice chairwoman of Bank of America, announced the policy shift during an interview on Bloomberg TV, saying that the financial institution made the decision after “intense conversations over the last few months”.

“We want to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings,” Ms Finucane said.

Bank of America did not provide the names of any gun manufacturers it works with when contacted for further details, but some of their clients are well known and publicly held brands. Most gun manufacturers in the US are privately held entities, and it is therefore difficult to know which may have business relationships with the bank.

“We were heartened to see Bank of America join the list of companies stepping up to keep America safe, especially when Washington politicians are failing to take action,” Avery Gardiner, the co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement emailed to The Independent

“Why would anyone want to help finance assault weapons that are regularly used in mass shootings? The gun violence epidemic in this country is a uniquely American problem and it's encouraging to see America's corporate giants take a leading role in this fight,” Ms Gardiner continued.

The decision by Bank of America to wind down its relationships with companies that produce AR-15s and other similar weapons for civilian use makes it at least the second major bank in the US to rewrite its firearms policies after Citigroup announced that it would require its gun industry clients to stop selling to customers who have not passed a background check, and who are not at least 21 years old.

Since the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many other top corporations have entered the gun control debates well. Soon after the shooting, for example, corporations fuelled a national boycott of the National Rifle Association, with top brands in several industries dropping partnerships with the group.

Bank of America will still do business with retailers that sell the weapons it is now targeting, and Ms Finucane said they would continue doing so because asking gun stores to stop selling certain types of weapons “gets into civil liberties” and could be “a ways off”.

Publicly traded companies that manufacture AR-15-style rifles have seen a dip in their sales recently, indicating the the industry may be facing sustained market troubles going forward. Of the investor-owned gun manufacturers in America, at least one — American Outdoor Brands Corporation, which owns Smith & Wesson — has seen its stock price halved in the past year.

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