Bank of America will no longer lend money to companies that manufacturer AR-pattern rifles, an executive for the company told Bloomberg News this week.
After “intense conversations over the last few months” with its clients that make these scary-looking guns for the civilian market, BoA decided to cut funding on a “go-forward basis.”
“We have just a handful of manufacturers. They know what our intentions are,” said BoA vice chairwoman Anne Finucane. “It’s our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use.”
To be abundantly clear, Finucane was asked if it was a “100 percent, full stop” on funding — she replied, “Yes.”
“We want to contribute in anyway we can to reduce these mass shootings,” Finucane said, at the outset of the interview. “That’s such a tragedy in the United States.”
Reactions from the manufacturers were “mixed,” according to Finucane, who added, “We’ll just leave it at that. They’re our clients, and we have enjoyed a relationship, but there are those that I think will reduce their portfolio, and we’ll work with them, and others that will choose to do something else.”
She said that the company’s position would not affect retailers — at least not yet.
“The problem with that is that gets into civil liberties and Second Amendment,” explained Finucane. “That’s a good public dialogue, but that’s a ways off.”
The anti-gun lobby was quick to applaud the move.
“We were heartened to see Bank of America join the list of companies stepping up to keep America safe,” said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign. “Why would anyone want to help finance assault weapons that are regularly used in mass shootings?”
Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation lamented that they weren’t a part of the conversation.
“We as an industry would welcome the opportunity to sit down with Bank of America executives and explain our industry’s perspective to discuss what really would work to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them,” said Michael Bazinet, a spokesman for the NSSF, the firearms industry trade association.
“We should be part of the discussion,” he continued.
Bank of America isn’t the only lending institution to turn a cold shoulder to gun companies. Citigroup recently announced that it would no longer do business with companies that sell bump-fire stocks and “high capacity” magazines.
Will the trend continue? Given that bankers are superbly ethical people who really care about the Constitutional rights of citizens, I’m sure it won’t… Yeah, and if you believe that, I got a bridge I want to sell you.