Bank of America Corp. will no longer lend money to companies that manufacture military-style assault weapons for civilian use, in the hopes the move will contribute to a reduction in the number of mass shootings nationwide.
Anne Finucane, Bank of America’s vice chairman, said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg TV that the bank has notified the handful of gun manufacturers it does business with about the decision. It would not name the companies.
“We want to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings — it’s such a tragedy in the United States,” Finucane said. “We do have a few manufacturers of military-style firearms . . . We have let them know that it’s not our intent to underwrite or finance military-style firearms on a go-forward basis.”
Asked whether the bank also would stop doing business with retailers that sell assault weapons, Finucane said it would involve complicated issues related to civil liberties and the Second Amendment. “That’s a good public dialogue that’s a ways off,” she said.
Reaction from gun manufacturers that do business with Bank of America was “mixed,” Finucane said. “Let’s just leave it at that.”
The decision is not likely to have much of an impact on Bank of America’s bottom line, since there aren’t that many manufacturers of military-style firearms nationally, said Milton banking consultant Suzanne Moot.
And the companies that will be affected won’t have much trouble getting financing from other large banks, she added.
“As a practical matter, I’m not sure what kind of an impact it has, but it certainly is a way for Bank of America to take a stand on an issue that’s hot right now,” Moot said. “I don’t quite see how it could have a material impact on gun violence, especially the kind of gun violence they’re trying to fight against.”
Last month, Citigroup became the first major bank to take a position on gun control when it announced a policy requiring retailers doing business with the bank to prohibit the sale of guns to anyone under age 21 or anyone who had not passed a background check. It also prohibited the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.
In late February — not long after the shootings that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. — Bank of America asked gun makers that sell assault rifles to come up with suggestions for preventing such violence.Katheleen Conti can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.