Chicago is infamous for its mob-style governing mentality, and current Mayor Rahm Emanuel is doing what he can to carry on that tradition. Thwarted by a federal appeals court in December which ordered the state legislature to make concealed carry in Illinois happen within six months, Emanuel is attempting to backdoor the ruling by intimidating banks that do business with gun makers.
The nasty little cuss is pressuring two major financial institutions in particular – Bank of America and TD Bank – to back his push for a ban on firearms that resemble military rifles, as well as background checks for all gun purchases.
In a letter to the CEOs of both banks, Emanuel pressed them to end their financial backing of gun makers unless they support what he described as “commonsense reforms, including requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales.”
‘Banning guns is not going to solve anything’
The one-time Obama chief of staff urged the banks to end lines of credit, financing for acquisitions and expansions and financial advising, according to CBS Chicago.
“In the past, the gun industry has stood in opposition to these safety measures,” Emanuel wrote. “They opposed a ban on assault weapons on America’s streets, opposed a ban on military-style clips, opposed a criminal background check on all gun purchases and opposed any effort to crack down on criminal gun traffickers.”
In truth, gun manufacturers have always favored “commonsense” regulations, such as background checks to ensure criminals are not buying their products. What they have opposed, however, and continue to oppose, are kneejerk “do-something” bills that would not have stopped the rash of recent massacres and won’t stop them in the future.
“The issue is access by prohibited persons. We should strengthen background checks,” Joseph Bartozzi, senior vice president of general counsel of gun maker Mossberg & Sons Inc., said at a recent legislative hearing on new gun control measures being considered by Connecticut lawmakers. “If the system needs to be improved, we need to do this right away. Banning guns is not going to solve anything.”
In his letter, Emanuel – whose city has experience more gun-related deaths (5,000+) since 2001 than the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan (around 2,000) over the same period of time – said TD Bank offers Smith & Wesson a $60 million line of credit, noting that the gun maker produces a version of the AR-15, the type of weapon used by James Holmes in Aurora, Colo., last summer (but which also is otherwise used to extremely rarely, according to FBI figures – a fact Emanuel, of course, did not mention).
The Chicagoland boss told TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani “to use your influence to push this company to find common ground” on military look-alike weapons and background checks.
In a separate letter, Emanuel prodded Brian T. Moynihan, CEO of Bank Of America, to do the same with gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co., which has a $25 million line of credit with the bank.
Anti-gun rights decision now costing investors money
“Collectively we can send a clear and unambiguous message to the entire gun industry that investors will no longer financially support companies that support gun violence,” Emanuel wrote, intimating, of course, that any gun manufacturer who disagreed must by default be in favor of “gun violence,” which is a ridiculous supposition.
A week earlier, Emanuel ordered city officials to conduct a portfolio analysis of the five retirement and pension funds held by Chicago employees, to see if fund managers hold financial interests in firms that make or sell military knock-off firearms.
In recent days, the Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund board voted to get rid of more than $1 million from three companies that make military-style weapons – Freedom Group, Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson. That decision should upset investors because, after all, the goal of the fund is to make money for members’ retirement, and given the fact that gun manufacturers’ stocks are soaring, that politically motivated decision cost the fund’s investors dearly.