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.
Today, our CEO announced Citi is instituting a new U.S. Commercial Firearms Policy. It is not centered on an ideological mission to rid the world of firearms. That is not what we seek. There are millions of Americans who use firearms for recreational and other legitimate purposes, and we respect their Constitutional right to do so.
But we want to do our part as a company to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands. So our new policy centers around current firearms sales best practices that will guide those we do business with as a firm.
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.
These common-sense sales practices already have widespread public support according to recent polling and they are easy to implement. Some, like Walmart, have gone even further.
We recognize that we don’t have all the answers and that existing technology in our industry doesn’t allow for a more targeted approach at points of sale. For that reason, we would like to convene those in the financial services industry and other stakeholders to tackle these challenges together and see what we can do. This approach has worked well in areas such as sustainability, where the Equator Principles ushered in a new era of environmentally and socially responsible financing practices. We hope to leverage collective action to encourage responsible practices by all who sell firearms. As best practices evolve, we will update our policies accordingly.
We know that the actions we are taking today will invite passion on both sides. We don’t have the perfect solution but we have come to the conclusion that we must do our part to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm. And we hope our actions help achieve that vital goal.