Citibank made big news yesterday announcing that new clients would have to place restrictions on gun sales as a condition of doing business with the bank.
Citibank announced Thursday that it will start requiring clients to place some restrictions on gun sales, including banning the sale of firearms to anyone under the age of 21.
The bank will also require retail clients to only sell guns to individuals who have passed a background check and to not sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.
Citi is also having conversations with its gun manufacturer clients about the terms under which they’re willing to continue doing business.
Copyright: missisya / 123RF Stock Photo
As an aisde but of potential interest to some readers and payments aficionados, “current payment systems do not allow it to see exactly what items customers are buying at the checkout aisle.”
Citi’s move may be illegal in many states. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh explains that about a dozen states have laws against age discrimination in retail which apply to those under 21 years old, so selling guns but refusing to do so for 18 to 20 year olds is against the law in those states, and consequently pressuring a company to violate that age discrimination law is similarly illegal.
Consider, for instance, Michigan law; the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (Mich. Comp. Laws. §§ 37.2301-.2304) bans age discrimination in retail sales, and § 37.2701 likewise provides that no person shall “[a]id, abet, incite, compel, or coerce a person to engage in a violation of this act” or “[w]illfully obstruct or prevent a person from complying with this act” or “interfere with a person in the exercise or enjoyment of … any right granted or protected by this act.” If a credit card company demands that stores illegally discriminate, then it’s inciting, compeling, and coercing violations within the meaning of the law, obstructing the stores’ complying with the law, and interfering with 18-to-20-year-olds’ enjoyment of rights granted by the law.
If a credit card company required its business partners not to sell wedding cakes to gays and lesbians, that would violate the law in those states that ban sexual orientation discrimination by such businesses — and the ban would apply not just to the cake shops, but also to the credit card company.
All Citi has actually done is say they won’t take new retail business from those selling guns to 18 to 20 year olds, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks. They aren’t walking away from existing business of those who do. This is far more symbolic than anything else, and even more so since they’ll presumably have to exempt customers in several states from the policy.