Gun control group calls on banks to limit clients' weapons sales

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A gun-control advocacy group has called for banks to require clients that sell or manufacture guns to ban the sale of bump stocks and restrict sales to buyers that they believe pose risks to society.

Everytown for Gun Safety on Wednesday issued a set of guidelines that it says are similar to the know-your-customer requirements to which banks and other financial institutions must already adhere.

The group’s guidelines follow recent decisions by Citigroup to prohibit retailers that are its customers from offering bump stocks or selling guns to people that have not passed a background check. Also, the online lender Kabbage said it would not provide funding to businesses that sell firearms or ammunition to individuals under 21, and First National Bank of Omaha dropped a credit-card partnership with the National Rifle Association.

“Gun dealers and manufacturers have an important role to play in keeping guns out of the illegal market, and the banks and lenders that support those businesses do too,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, said in a statement.

Everytown recommends that banks require gun dealers to commit to protect weapons from theft, and to refuse to sell guns to consumers “who appear intoxicated or in distress.” The group also called on retailers to ban the sale of bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and other accessories used to convert semiautomatic weapons to automatic.

The group is also urging banks to require gun manufacturers to adopt supply-chain rules intended to reduce the diversion of arms to prohibited groups, and to develop gun features to help law enforcement solve gun crimes.

A number of banks provide financing to the gun industry. Wells Fargo, for example, has helped large U.S. gun and ammunition companies access about $431 million of loans and bonds since December 2010, according to Bloomberg. That was the largest amount among U.S. banks, the report said.

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