Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Urges Banks to Deny Financial Services to Gun Manufacturers

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to the chief executives of Bank of America and TD Bank encouraging them to refrain from offering financial services to major gun manufacturers that fail to embrace “commonsense” gun safety laws on Jan. 24. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Little trivia: he only has nine fingers; he lost the tenth in a deli slicer.

“These institutions have a responsibility to stand up against an industry that manufactures and sells assault weapons that end up on America’s streets. It’s time for the financial industry to join the fight against assault weapons and military-style magazines, and support commonsense reforms, including requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales,” Emanuel said in a press release. “Doing business with gun manufacturers might benefit the banks’ bottom line, but they put our police officers, our children and our communities at risk.” 

Emanuel contacted BoA and TD Bank specifically because they are known to do business with gun companies both big and small. According to Emanuel’s letters, BoA issues Ruger a $25 million line of credit, and TD Bank issues Smith & Wesson a $60 million credit line.

BoA also aids numerous other gun and gun-related companies like Freedom Group, Bass Pro Shop and numerous smaller businesses in financial services, even though some of them publicize petty gripes. contacted BoA and TD Bank about Emanuel’s letter, and both declined to comment.

This push comes about a week after members of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors launched an initiative to grade gun manufacturers on their compliance with public safety goals. They said in a news release, “The companies that are least supportive may find it harder to sell their wares to police departments across the country.”

Last week, after a portfolio analysis of pension and retirement funds ordered by Emanuel, the Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund board voted to divest more than $1 million from three companies that manufacturer “assault weapons.” These companies, once again, include Freedom Group, Smith & Wesson and Ruger.

On top of that, on Jan. 22, the Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund withdrew $260,000 from those companies as well, according to a CTPF statement.

While great pressure is being applied to firearm and firearm-related companies, surveyed a number of gun companies, including Smith & Wesson and Ruger, at SHOT Show 2013 and the general consensus was it’ll be business as usual until they are legally obligated to conform to any new laws, rules or regulations.

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