[Updated at 3:45 p.m. on April 24: GE Capital has issued a statement on its revamped gun policy:
“As a responsible lender, we regularly review our lending policies and products to meet changing conditions and requirements. In 2008, we adopted a policy to cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms. Recently, we implemented a more rigorous audit process in our sporting goods segment in light of industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms. This process has affected less than 75 retailers (approx. .001% of all gun retailers) and an immaterial part of our sales volume.”]
With gun-control efforts bogged down in Washington, a handful of companies such as GE Capital are gingerly stepping into the breach.
GE Capital, the huge financing arm of General Electric Co., has stopped making loans to gun shops, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company will continue to lend to diversified businesses that sell firearms, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods. But it will cut off financing for scores of mom-and-pop gun retailers around the country, according to the story.
The move marks the latest effort by the corporate and investment worlds to take a stand on guns.
Private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management earlier announced plans to sell the gun manufacturer it owns.
Those actions are unlikely to have a significant effect on the powerful and sprawling gun industry. But they could carry a symbolic weight if others in the business world take similar steps.
GE is based in Fairfield, Conn. and many GE employees live in and around Newtown, the suburb where the Sandy Hook school shooting took place. As the Journal pointed out, Peter Lanza, the father of gunman Adam Lanza, is a GE Capital executive.
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