Each shooting adds fuel to the debate over the rights of Americans to own firearms. We all agree that these tragedies are horrific and rightly condemn them. And at that point, the agreement ends as groups square off to battle each other as well as the interpretation of the Second Amendment.
There is no need to rehearse all the arguments here. We've heard them to the point of almost nausea. To say there is no agreement as to how to prevent such tragedies is to put things mildly.
Leaders of major corporations are eager to enter political debates, even if these issues have nothing directly to do with their firms. The gun-rights debate is no different. And in that regard, Citibank has issued a policy delineating the requirements for doing business with the mega-bank.
For too many years, in too many places, our country has seen acts of gun violence that have resulted in heartbreaking losses. We are all too familiar with them and there is no need to recount them here.
Over the same amount of time, we have waited for our grief to turn into action and see our nation adopt common-sense measures that would help prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands. That action has sadly never come and as the weeks pass after the most recent mass shooting, it appears we are stuck in the same cycle of tragedy and inaction.
As a society, we all know that something needs to change. And as a company, we feel we must do our part.
There's the intro. Here's the new policy:
Under this new policy, we will require new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to these best practices: (1) they don’t sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check, (2) they restrict the sale of firearms for individuals under 21 years of age, and (3) they don’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines. This policy will apply across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label. It doesn't impact the ability of consumers to use their Citi cards at merchants of their choice.
We know our clients also care about these issues and we have begun to engage with them in the hope that they will adopt these best practices over the coming months. If they opt not to, we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi.
We have few relationships with companies that manufacture firearms. For those that do, we will be initiating due diligence conversations on the subject to better understand what products they make, what markets and retailers they sell to and what sales practices those retailers follow to ensure adherence to the best practices outlined above. This same due diligence screening will apply to potential clients going forward.
What Citi is engaging in here is a “soft” attack on American's rights as protected under the Second Amendment. The likelihood that it will save any lives is vanishingly remote. But, of course, that's not the purpose of this policy.
Issuing such a policy is well within the right of Citi to do so. And it is well within the rights of Americans to transact business through Citi or not as they see fit.