In the wake of the Parkland massacre, corporations have taken it upon themselves to dictate which firearms Americans should be allowed to own. The virtue signaling has been deafening from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Citigroup, and Bank of America, but Wells Fargo has held out against David Hogg and his disciples.
Despite strong pressure from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the bank has refused to cut ties with business partners that manufacture firearms.
“Wells Fargo wants schools and communities to be safe from gun violence, but changes to laws and regulations should be determined through a legislative process that gives the American public an opportunity to participate,” the bank said. “We remain firm in our belief that the American public does not want banks to decide which legal products consumers can and cannot buy.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten informed the bank shortly after the Valentine’s Day shooting that the union would no longer use Wells Fargo’s mortgage services to provide home-buying plans to its members as long as the bank maintained its ties with gun makers.
Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan told AFT President Randi Weingarten in an April 3 letter obtained by USA TODAY that the best route to combating gun violence “is through the political and legislative process.” Sloan offered to meet with Weingarten, but that meeting never materialized.
Weingarten apparently ignored Sloan’s letter, telling him in her own note, “We can only assume that, in light of your silence and the NRA attacks, you have decided that the NRA business is more valuable to you than students and their educators are.”
USA Today spoke with Weingarten, who was more than happy to explain how she stood up to the gun-funding company: “We essentially said you can have the mortgage business … or you can continue to value guns more than the people who serve in schools and the kids that have been affected by gun violence.”
According to USA Today, Wells Fargo stands to lose around 20,000 mortgages from AFT members. The company held $105 billion in mortgages in the first half of 2016, nearly double that of its closest competitor.
Wells Fargo’s decision to uphold legal and legislative processes stand in stark contrast to other large businesses in recent weeks. Dick’s Sporting Goods removed then destroyed AR-type rifles in its Field & Stream stores. Citigroup is restricting the kinds of firearm-related products its clients can sell and, most recently, Bank of America cut ties with business clients that manufacture military-style rifles for civilian use.