There’s a new battleground in the gun rights debate: Corporate America. Several corporations have already made headlines by dropping NRA membership discount programs or announcing restrictions that make it more difficult for lawful citizens to purchase firearms. Now, one of the largest banks in the country has taken it a step further. Citigroup has announced that customers who are in the firearms industry are no longer welcome … and they’re essentially discriminating against law-abiding Americans based on politics.
“Citigroup said it would not work with firms that sell guns to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21,” reported BBC News. “It has also barred the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.”
Remember, federally licensed gun stores are already required by the law to conduct background checks before selling firearms. And there is currently no federal law against selling firearms to law-abiding adults between the ages of 18 and 21, although the left is trying desperately to change this.
“The measures would apply to clients who offer credit cards supported by Citigroup, or borrow money or use banking services through the firm,” explained the BBC.
In other words, if you’re a local gun shop which follows every law and banks with Citigroup, selling a hunting shotgun to a 20-year-old who passes a background check could now get your account shut down or your credit cards frozen.
Again, we must reiterate: The banking giant is talking about discriminating against sales that are 100 percent legal under federal and most state laws.
More alarmingly, The New York Times reported that the bank was “discussing the possibility” of monitoring and blocking gun purchases at the point of sale — meaning that an individual shopping at a sporting goods store could find their debit card shut down while trying to make a legal purchase.
Incredibly, the bank’s CEO openly conceded that Citigroup was playing politics and trying to “influence” society.
“As we looked at the things we thought we could influence, we felt that working with our clients, we could make a difference,” chief executive Michael L. Corbat told The New York Times.
“Banks serve a societal purpose — we believe our investors want us to do this,” he continued, before admitting that “real revenue is at risk” by shunning lawful firearms and gun accessory businesses.
This decision by Citigroup raises serious questions about the line between business policies and inappropriate — and even unconstitutional — discrimination.
Imagine for a moment that a huge bank did the same thing not against gun owners, but against people with any other political views. Let’s say they implemented a similar policy against a gay rights group or Muslim-owned businesses.
“We will be closing any bank account used by LGBT organizations and Halal restaurants. These do not align with our views. We believe our investors want us to do this.” If Citigroup had instead sent out this letter, what do you think the response would be?
The left seems to want things both ways. They actively sue Christian bakeries and wedding shops into bankruptcy for politely declining to do business with certain customers based on personal views, yet do essentially the exact same thing against a conservative-leaning industry.
Remember, these are businesses that the bank had no problem working with a month ago. They are lawful, respectable stores selling legal products. They haven’t done anything differently. The law has not changed. Yet a major bank has arbitrarily declared that their accounts are no longer accepted.
Not only is selling firearms to qualified citizens completely legal, it’s explicitly protected by the United States Constitution. Self-defense is a human right — yes, even for 20-year-olds — yet a major corporation is trampling on that right while admitting to wanting to “influence” politics.
At the very least, this is essentially corporate bullying. It sets a dangerous precedent, and is only one step away from a bank blocking customers from spending their own money on legal products if biased executives don’t approve.
It isn’t yet clear what the fallout of Citigroup’s decision will be, but it would not be surprising if a strong pushback and even lawsuits are around the corner. The next few months will definitely be interesting.