Banking With Brian Moynihan Apparently A Constitutional Right

For gun store owners, anyway.
Brian Katt at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Brian Katt at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Depending on whether the Second Amendment is the only part of the Constitution you think should be shredded or the only part of the Constitution that shouldn’t be shredded, you’re likely to have reacted to news that Bank of America would no longer finance companies who make the assault rifles America’s mass shooters just love to fire into a crowd: With high praise or heated condemnation. Both seem a bit overwrought under the circumstances, since all BofA is doing is “winding down” its relationships with such gun-makers, assuming it has any, which it’s not saying.

The bank works with “just a handful of manufacturers,” with whom it has had “intense conversations over the last few months,” Ms. Finucane said. Their reactions to the new policy have been “mixed,” she said.

Bank of America would not name any of the gun manufacturers it works with, but its clients include well-known, publicly held brands.

Perhaps given Anne Finucane’s insistence that the bank wants “to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings,” one might suggest BofA could go a little bit further. You know, maybe chat with those clients who are still stocking the guns the companies it won’t do business with anymore are making? Well, Finucane says it won’t be doing that, but not because that move might actually impact the bottom line.

Asking gun shops to stop selling certain types of handguns or long guns “gets into civil liberties” and is “a ways off,” Ms. Finucane said.

It’s a strange matter of principle to refuse to violate customers’ civil liberties for the time being, but to remain open to doing so later. This is perhaps because Anne Finucane knows that banking with Brian Moynihan—or anyone else—isn’t exactly a civil liberty. If it was, Finucane, Moynihan & co. wouldn’t be allowed to deny banking services to all of those poor people to whom they—and everyone else—currently deny banking services. But no matter: It sounds good, and that’s enough at least until the next mass shooting in a high school. Thank goodness for Finucane that the academic year’s almost over.

Bank of America to Stop Financing Makers of Military-Style Guns [NYT]