Louisiana Blocking $600M for Two Major Banks Because of Their Stances on Guns

UPDATE [8/17/18, 11:35 a.m. ET]: On Friday, Citigroup responded by calling Louisiana’s decision “disappointing”:

“Citi adopted this policy because we believe it is a positive and balanced step to promote gun safety without undermining free markets or Second Amendment rights,” a Citi spokesperson told IJR. “It is disappointing that the taxpayers of Louisiana will be deprived from competitive bidding for necessary public works because the process has been politicized.”

Original Story:

Citigroup and Bank of America took a strong stance in favor of gun control after the Parkland, Florida shooting in February of this year.

Citigroup, as IJR previously noted, committed to not doing business with retailers who didn’t agree to certain criteria for letting their customers purchase firearms. Bank of America also refused to grant loans to gun manufacturers who produced “military-style firearms” for civilian use.

While the banks may have won over fans of gun control, they reportedly lost access to hundreds of millions of dollars in a Louisiana bond sale. 

Louisiana’s State Bond Commission narrowly voted to restrict Citigroup and Bank of America’s access to the new sale which would have allowed them to potentially finance a $600 million project.

“I personally believe the policies of these banks are an infringement on the rights of Louisiana citizens,” John Schroder, the state’s treasurer, said.

“As a veteran and former member of law enforcement, I take the Second Amendment very seriously.”

In a statement published on Thursday, Schroder also pushed back on concerns that excluding those major banks would hurt the competitive process. 

“We have a very capable group of underwriters including some of the biggest banks in America who want to participate in this deal,” he said. “No one can convince me that keeping these two banks in this competitive process is worth giving up our rights.”

Louisiana’s move came amid a number of high-profile boycotts against businesses caught in the crossfire over gun rights in the United States.

New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, took a slightly different approach earlier this year when he urged his state’s banks and insurance companies to reconsider their ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

In response, the NRA filed a lawsuit claiming “irrecoverable loss and irreparable harm” if it couldn’t acquire banking services. The group blasted New York’s attempt as a form of “coercion” and a “blacklisting campaign.”

“Multiple firms have succumbed to Defendants’ demands and entered into consent orders with [the state’s Department of Financial Services] that compel them to terminate longstanding, beneficial business relationships with the NRA, both in New York and elsewhere,” the suit read.

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