Will Banks Be Blocked From Gun Policies?
New bank legislation aims to curb moves from such institutions as Citigroup and Bank of America when it comes to lending practices focused on those in the gun industry.
The “No Red and Blue Banks Act,” filed earlier this month as S.3539, would bar the General Services Administration from awarding contracts to banks that avoid doing business with companies engaged in lawful commerce based on social policy decisions. The proposal, according to sponsor U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La, is needed to reign in what the lawmaker contends are policies infringing on the Second Amendment rights of businesses.
“Citigroup and Bank of America’s copy of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t include the Second Amendment, and they’re trying to force that version down the American people’s throats. These banks would be dead broke if it weren’t for the American taxpayers bailing them out,” said Kennedy in a statement. “We don’t need red banks. We don’t need blue banks. We need financially stable banks. Citigroup and Bank of America need to stop playing politics and focus on their balance sheets.”
In March, Citi clarified that firearms dealers wanting to partner with them must ban sales of bump stocks and “high-capacity magazines’ as well as place age restrictions on gun sales and refuse to complete transactions until buyers pass background checks. Financial giant BofA followed up in April, saying the company will end financing for manufacturers of “military-style” rifles for civilian buyers, later backing up their position by signaling they would sever their relationship with Remington once the iconic gun maker emerged from bankruptcy restructuring.
The stand on guns brought fast repercussions from Congress against the lenders with House Republicans attempting to blackball Citi from a $700 million GSA contract while GOP leaders on the Senate Banking Committee– to include Kennedy– blasted BofA. Last week, Fifth Third Bank said they will also move to cut ties with the gun industry. Kennedy’s bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.