E-Commerce Gun Retailers under Fire-Are Banks a Proxy for Congressional Leaders?

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If Congress wont do it, well, someone will.  With the Florida (Parkland) school shooting receiving super-sized media coverage, grandstanding politicians vying for camera time, and a looming unpredictable mid term election-its time to take action. Banks-pssst. You do it!

Citigroup announced a policy change-a big one-to bank business relationships on March 22. The new policy prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check, and/or customers who are under the age of 21. The bank is barring the sale of bump stocks and standard-capacity magazines. The new policy applies to all Citigroup clients who offer credit cards backed by Citigroup, or otherwise banking services through the company.

Citigroup becomes the first major U.S. bank to take a stance, or as the company calls it, “common-sense measures,” in the debate over gun control. Said one Florida-based payment processing company: “The net effect for online gun retailers is an upcoming tightening in the availability of credit card processing and other payment services-which will have widespread impact on a legal industry.”

In a letter to company employees, CEO Michael Corbat was steadfast in his position that Citi relationships toe the line or face termination from thier banking relationship. Corbat added, “If they opt not to [sic] follow the policy, we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi.” Corbat also stated: “Best practices are going to continue to change, and we understand the limitations of our efforts. But we shouldn’t let that stops us from doing our part,” he wrote.

The ongoing debate is a firestorm of controversy that crosses political party lines as legislators from both side of the aisle receive campaign contributions from the NRA. Experts “agree to disagree” on actual legislation with substantive effects being passed anytime soon.