- Ahead of Thursday night's Democratic presidential candidates' debate, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke posted on Twitter a petition calling on banks and payment card companies to stop processing transactions for gun sales online and providing services linked to the sale of assault weapons.
- A growing number of banks are using lending to encourage and promote social and environmental causes. Banks such as SunTrust, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have said they'll stop financing operators of private prisons amid the immigrant detention crisis along the U.S.'s southern border. Other financial institutions, such as BNP Paribas and HSBC, are pulling their coal-related lending and funding.
- Republican Sens. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and John Kennedy of Louisiana introduced a bill in March to discourage banks and credit unions from cutting off the firearms industry. The measure came after Citigroup and Bank of America set restrictions on their business customers regarding gun sales.
"Credit cards have enabled many of America's mass shootings in the last decade — and with Washington unwilling to act, they need to cut off the sales of weapons of war today," O'Rourke said in the Twitter post Thursday, adding that his campaign intends to send the petition, signed by supporters, to Visa, Mastercard and the nation's big banks.
He clarified his stance Thursday night during the debate. When ABC News anchor David Muir asked O'Rourke if he was proposing taking away people's guns, O'Rourke replied, "I am if it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield."
The candidate urged financial institutions in the petition to "refuse to provide services for the sales of assault weapons; stop processing transactions for gun sales online or at gun shows without background checks; and stop doing business with gun or ammo manufacturers who produce or sell assault weapons," the post reads.
A gunman killed 22 people and wounded 24 more in August in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in the district O'Rourke represented from 2013 to 2019.
Cramer and Kennedy's bill would curb banks' access to loans from the Federal Reserve's discount window if they refuse to serve legal firearms businesses for reasons outside of "traditional" underwriting, according to Politico.
"A small number of banks controlling most of the financial sector could effectively illegalize legal commerce by refusing to finance certain industries or process certain transactions," Cramer said. “Big banks should not be the arbiters of constitutionality."