NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, applauded the Biden administration’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for halting a Trump administration rule that would have forced large banks to lend to companies in every industry regardless of reputational risk. If successful, the Trump administration’s NRA-backed attempt to push this unprecedented rule though would have prohibited banks from making decisions about providing financial services based on corporate social responsibility measures –– including whether a business involves manufacturing or selling firearms. Furthermore, it would have banned common sense gun safety policies, such as Gun Safety Codes of Conduct, and forced banks to assume the inherent risks that firearms manufacturers have neglected to manage.
The gun lobby-backed rule was rushed through by the Trump administration to invalidate carefully considered banking policies that are critical to reducing gun violence. Everytown filed a formal comment opposing this rule due to the harmful effect it would have on public safety.
“This rule was a last-gasp giveaway from the Trump administration to the NRA, and President Biden’s administration was right to kick it to the curb, along with the outgoing president,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This will be just one of many steps President Biden will take to undo the deadly legacy of Trump’s anything-goes approach to guns, and we look forward to additional bold action.”
Before this rule was halted by the Biden administration, it was finalized by the Trump administration after several leading financial institutions independently adopted corporate social responsibility policies that require their retail lending partners to adhere to gun safety policies that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. The banks vocally opposed this encroachment on their ability to make decisions in the best interests of public safety. These policies in the financial services sector are well within the mainstream of America’s largest corporations who recognize the reputational risk to their businesses, their shareholders and the communities they serve. The Trump administration’s rule was an effort to stop other businesses from enacting similar measures and, in the process, curtail the freedom of banks to decide which businesses to take on as clients.