(CBS Local) — Bank of America says it plans to stop lending money to gunmakers who produce military-style firearms for civilians.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, one of the largest U.S. banks said it intends to do everything it can to reduce gun violence in America. “It’s our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use,” vice-chairman Anne Finucane announced. Finucane called recent mass shootings a “tragedy in the United States.”
Bank of America has reportedly been in discussions with gun manufacturers and has told them that the bank will no longer finance projects which create assault weapons. Such a weapon — an AR-15 assault rifle — was used to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
“We were heartened to see Bank of America join the list of companies stepping up to keep America safe,” Avery Gardiner of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said to Bloomberg. Bank of America officials say the reaction from their gun making clients has been mixed.
“We as an industry would welcome the opportunity to sit down with Bank of America executives and explain our industry’s perspective,” National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Michael Bazineta said. The firearms lobbyist group says the real issue is keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not own them; not preventing them from being made. “We should be part of the discussion,” Bazineta added.