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Bank of America stops financing for makers of 'military style' rifles

Remington, Vista Outdoor and Sturm Ruger are three clients affected by the decision, CNBC reported.

by Kiara Alfonseca /

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Bank of America confirmed Wednesday that it will no longer lend to gun-manufacturing companies that produce “military style” weapons for civilians.

The bank made the decision after what Anne Finucane, the bank's vice chairman, called "intense conversations" about company values and intentions.

“We want to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings,” Finucane said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "We have had intense conversations over the last few months. And it's our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use."

Remington, Vista Outdoor and Sturm Ruger are three clients affected by the decision, CNBC reported. Bank of America ranks as the second-largest bank in the U.S. by assets.

 Anne Finucane speaks during Advertising Week on Sept. 29, 2016, in New York. John Lamparski / Getty Images for Advertising Week file

The news comes just less than a month after Citigroup placed restrictions on its business partners, including new policies that require retail sector clients to refuse the sale of firearms to anyone who hasn't passed a background check, ban sales to those under 21, and end the sale of bump stocks, gun modifiers that make semiautomatic weapons fire faster.

Almost two months after the school shooting that killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Wall Street isn't the only place where renewed discussions of gun policy are taking place. Retailers like Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods implemented new policies not long after the Florida shooting: Walmart raised the minimum age for the purchase of firearms, and Dick's removed all assault-style rifles from store shelves.

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Gun rights activists, like the National Rifle Association, say the AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle that was used in the Parkland shooting and in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which killed 49 people in June 2016 in Orlando, Florida, doesn't count as an assault rifle. It does, however, fall under "military style," as it was originally modeled after military-use rifles but was redesigned for civilian use.

Finucane said the reaction from its gun-manufacturing clients has been "mixed," but activists against gun violence are excited by the moves being made by Wall Street banks.

“My initial reaction was, ‘I think I'm going to have to start banking with Bank of America and Citibank,' ” said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign, a gun control advocacy group. “The financial sector can all do a lot to help reduce gun violence in ways that don't go near Second Amendment rights. They're looking at what their business is and what they want it to be and how that interacts with the gun industry.”

Representatives for Vista Outdoors and Remington, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, did not respond to requests for comment. Bank of America is listed as a creditor in Remington's Chapter 11 filing.

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