NEW YORK – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to the Trump administration’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalizing a rule that would force large banks to lend to companies in every industry regardless of reputational risk — despite vocal opposition from the banks. This unprecedented move, which is supported by the NRA, will prohibit banks from making decisions about providing financial services based on corporate social responsibility measures– including whether that business involves manufacturing or selling firearms. The rule bans common sense gun safety policies, such as Gun Safety Codes of Conduct, and forces 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. Fortunately, the incoming Biden Administration and the gun sense majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate can act to undo this rule.
“As the nation reels from armed insurrection, the Trump administration is making a last ditch effort to stop the financial sector from combating gun violence,” said Nick Suplina, managing director of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “The incoming Biden administration and Congress should waste no time protecting the American people by undoing this gun lobby giveaway.”
This rule 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. 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 OCC’s rule is an effort to stop other businesses from enacting similar measures and, in the process, the Trump administration and the gun lobby, are leading efforts to curtail the freedom of banks to decide which businesses to take on as clients.
Despite the widespread impact of the proposal, and the impending change in presidential administration, the OCC rushed this move through with a much shorter period for public comment than is common on a proposal of such significance.