Virtue Signaling Chokepoint: Citigroup Becomes First Major Bank to Restrict Some Gun Sales
Bloomberg.com is reporting that Citigroup is the latest business to join the virtue signaling crowd, enacting policies to discriminate against persons engaged in lawful activities.
From the article:
Citigroup Inc. plans to prohibit retailers that are customers of the bank from offering bump stocks or selling guns to people who haven’t passed a background check or are younger than 21.
The bank is imposing the restrictions on companies that use it to issue store credit-cards or for lending and other services, according to a memo Thursday. The lender also barred the sale of high-capacity magazines.
“The policy was designed to respect the rights of responsible gun owners while helping to keep firearms out of the wrong hands,” Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat said in the memo to staff. “It is clear to me that most people believe there are areas of agreement and practical changes we can make to find common ground.”
Citigroup, the largest issuer of credit cards in the world, is the first major banking institution to set restrictions on the firearms industry.
Timing the announcement just days before the March For Our Lives, the move was applauded by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an gun control group.
“We give a shoutout to Citigroup and all the other responsible businesses that have been more responsible than Congress in taking steps to prevent gun violence,” Kris Brown, the group’s co-president, said in an emailed statement.
The move by Citigroup harkens back to the Obama administration's Operation Chokepoint, which was launched in 2013 and involved the Justice Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Operation Chokepoint sought to deter banks from conducting business with companies that engaged in commerce that the Obama administration viewed as undesirable. To do this, Obama directed the FDIC to categorize certain types of businesses as being “associated with high-risk activity” in banking guidance documents.
Some of the businesses targeted by the operation were engaged in illegal or fraudulent activity. However, legal businesses that engaged in lawful commerce such as “Tobacco Sales,” “Coin Dealers,” “Ammunition Sales,” and “Firearms Sales” were also targeted.
The program was terminated by President Trump's Department of Justice in 2017.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.