Citigroup Prepared To Back Off On Anti-Second Amendment Stance

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

It wasn’t all that long ago when I wrote story after story of firearm-related businesses finding themselves cut off from services in the financial sector. It was frustrating because I’m a free-market kind of guy and I didn’t really see what could be done to stop it, especially since the then governor of New York was pushing them to do just that.

Yet Texas seemed to stumble on a way. As one of the largest states, financial companies desperately want to do business with it. As a customer, though, they’re free to determine who they wish to do business with, same as you or I would.

They said they wouldn’t do business with any company that did such things. Now, one of those companies is ready to do just that.

Citigroup Inc. says it’s prepared to restart its public-finance business in Texas after halting the operations in the wake of a new Republican law in the state that sought to bar it and other banks from such work as punishment for restrictive gun policies.

The lender says it’s ready to once again underwrite new municipal-bond deals sold by Texas issuers, potentially marking a major win after it had to stop doing so in September. After being ranked as the biggest underwriter of Texas municipal debt in 2020, New York-based Citigroup has tumbled to eighth place this year.

The halt to its Texas public-finance business came after a state law went into effect that bars government entities from working with companies that “discriminate” against firearm entities or trade associations. The bank has made no substantive changes to its gun policy in response to the new law.

“We elected not to engage in primary market underwriting activity with public sector clients in Texas temporarily while we were working through the certification process, which included submitting a standing letter to the Office of the Attorney General,” the bank said in a statement Tuesday through a spokesperson.

“Having made the certifications required by the new law, we are now prepared to resume serving issuer clients in Texas,” the statement said.

That’s a big win.

A couple of years ago, Citigroup’s CEO was busy touting how the rules they sought to impose on gun dealers weren’t a threat to the Second Amendment.

Contrary to Corbat’s claims, the actions of his company are a threat to the Second Amendment. They’re discriminatory to boot and their “best practices” are nothing of the kind. They’re not based on sound reason and experience. They’re an anti-gun wishlist that’s nothing more than a giant virtue signal in the sky.

While Corbat is right that his company isn’t blocking the purchase of firearms, what he’s missing is that by willfully interfering with the commerce of firearms through the retailer side of the transaction, he and his company are directly impacting firearm sales. They’re dictating the terms of the sale in a way they figure fewer people will notice.

I stand by what I said at the time. The state of Texas clearly agreed, and now Citigroup is apparently willing to back down in an effort to get the state’s business.

Personally, though, it’s not enough. It’s not nearly enough. I want them to admit that they screwed up, that they decided to become the arbiter of what other businesses should do despite not actually engaging in those businesses. They decided certain things were “best practices” for an industry other than their own, all of which were essentially anti-gun wishlist items.

Yeah, they were a threat to the Second Amendment and they know it, and I want to hear them admit it.

Of course, I don’t live in Texas. I don’t actually get a say in how they do business there. But all of you who do live there may want to give your lawmakers a holler and let them know if you believe this isn’t nearly enough.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET