Citigroup sets gun rules for its retail clients

By FinancialsFOXBusiness

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Citigroup announced on Thursday that it won’t do business with companies unless they comply with a set of restrictions on gun sales.

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The bank will prohibit clients from selling guns to people under 21 years old, becoming the latest company to set a higher minimum age for rifle purchases. Business customers must also run background checks for all firearm sales and cease selling high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, Citigroup said.

The new gun rules will apply to clients such as credit card partners and loan customers, including small businesses. Citigroup said it currently has “few relationships” with firearms manufacturers, but it will ask gun makers to ensure that retail partners adhere to the bank’s restrictions.

In a blog post announcing the move, Citigroup’s Ed Skyler, executive vice president of global public affairs, said the company does not seek to “rid the world of firearms.”

“There are millions of Americans who use firearms for recreational and other legitimate purposes, and we respect their Constitutional right to do so,” he wrote. “But we want to do our part as a company to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands. So our new policy centers around current firearms sales best practices that will guide those we do business with as a firm.”

Skyler acknowledged that Citigroup could lose clients over its decision, saying if some retail partners choose not to comply with the rules, “we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi.”

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Facing pressure from gun-control groups and lawmakers, corporations from retail to banking have announced their own measures to tighten gun sales following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. Some companies, including United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, ended relationships with the National Rifle Association.

Bank of America and investment firm BlackRock have said they would hold talks with gun makers to discuss policies. BlackRock is also giving clients the option of investing in funds that don’t include gun makers.

Retailers with tougher firearm policies include Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which raised the minimum age for gun purchases in their stores to 21. Dick’s also pulled AR-15-style rifles from its Field & Stream stores. Federal law already restricts handgun sales to people over 21 years old. The federal minimum age for rifle purchases is 18.

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