President Joe Biden’s State Department announced new sanctions banning the importation of ammunition and firearms from Russia, a decision that comes in the midst of a large ammunition shortage that has forced U.S. retailers to depend on foreign suppliers to meet demand. Since 2019, ammunition imports have increased by about 225 percent.
President Biden and his elitist allies in woke banks and investment firms know that severe restrictions on Second Amendment rights aren’t possible given the current composition of the Supreme Court, thanks in large part to President Trump. So they are turning to other tactics instead, most of which aren’t being covered by the press, to get the job done. It’s working.
For more than a decade, investors, banks, and other financial institutions have been dragging U.S. corporations toward the full adoption of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, posing a significant threat to the long-term survival of the firearms industry.
ESG metrics provide an alternative system for measuring a corporation’s success. Instead of focusing exclusively on traditional business measures — such as profits, the quality of goods and services, consumer satisfaction, etc. — ESG metrics provide scores, usually in the form of letter grades or a numerical scale, based on a company’s adoption of non-business factors.
For example, the metrics created by the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, which is led by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, rank companies in part on the “Percentage of employees per employee category, by age group, gender and other indicators of diversity (e.g. ethnicity).”
Or, put another way, a company that doesn’t have “enough” — whatever that means — Hispanics workers relative to its number of African-American workers might receive a lower ESG score than another business with a race ratio more in line with the subjective opinions of the elites who manage ESG metrics.
ESG systems aren’t merely built to deal with racial issues. ESG models typically also measure a company’s commitment to fighting climate change, along with a variety of other environmental metrics, as well as their devotion to a number of left-wing social causes.
For example, some ESG metrics might punish companies in the firearms industry, or even companies loosely associated with it, because, according to our ruling-class overlords in Davos and Washington, D.C., only murderers and deplorable conservatives “cling to their guns or religion.”
You might be surprised to learn that these woke ESG systems have already been widely adopted throughout the United States. Most of the largest corporations in the world, along with a growing list of investment groups, have already built complex internal ESG systems within their organizations. A report by KPMG found that more than eight in 10 large corporations in the United States now have ESG metrics, along with thousands of companies located in more than 50 other countries.
Although not all ESG-minded institutions and investors exclude firearms from their business practices, a growing number of ESG investment groups and banks have started to limit their exposure to firearms manufacturers and other related businesses, making it difficult for companies in the firearms industry to attract investors and much-needed capital, even as gun sales have continued to soar.
In 2018, the world’s largest investment management firm, BlackRock, announced it would exclude all firearms manufacturers and retailers from their ESG funds, including Walmart, as well as put additional pressure on corporate leaders to limit their exposure to guns.
BlackRock’s voice is one of the most powerful on Wall Street. It controls nearly $10 trillion in assets. (Yes, you read that correctly — that’s trillion with a “t.”) To put that into perspective, the total consumer spending of the United States in 2020 was about $12.5 trillion.
It’s also important to remember that BlackRock is just one of many woke investment management companies pushing ESG standards and anti-gun policies.
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) group suggests ESG standards include “the production or sales of controversial weapons and tobacco products, or gambling services.” It might be tempting to write off “controversial weapons” as nothing less than rocket launchers and land mines, but conservatives know all too well that virtually all modern firearms are now considered “controversial.”
It’s worth noting that PRI’s principles have been signed by thousands of investors and investment management groups, which, together, have $100 trillion under management. (Again, that’s trillion with a “t.”)
With trillions of dollars behind woke causes, it’s no wonder so many corporations are willing to turn their backs on gunowners, including retailers that have long served communities as reliable firearms dealers, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has removed guns from hundreds of its stores.
Banks have also started tightening the screws on some gun manufacturers and sellers. In 2018, Citigroup, one of the largest banks in the United States, started to require its client retailers to restrict gun sales to people 21 and older. It also announced it would no longer do business with retailers selling bump stocks or high-capacity magazines, even to well-vetted, law-abiding customers.
Further, according to an investigation by gun-control activist group Guns Down America, Citi now has “no financing” arrangements with the “gun industry.” Similarly, Bank of America has said it will no longer loan to businesses that make “military-style firearms for civilian use,” a decision that cut financial support to some of the biggest gunmakers in the country.
Although many of these decisions have their roots in ESG and sustainable investment practices that date back more than a decade, as well as regulatory changes made by the Obama-era Department of Justice as part of its Operation Chokepoint initiative, recent moves by woke banks have been buoyed by the Biden administration.
In President Trump’s final months in office, his administration approved the Fair Access to Financial Services Rule, which would have made it difficult for banks to discriminate against businesses based on the industry they are in. Under the Trump rule, financial institutions would be required to base their decisions on financial information.
However, before the rule could go into effect, the Biden administration killed the regulatory change, opening the door to even greater discrimination in the financial services industry against firearms-related businesses.
The Biden administration has advocated for strict gun-control measures and enacted executive policies meant to drive up the cost of ammunition. Private financial institutions are now helping them do through the economy what they can’t do through the elected members of Congress. And the worst part is, their plan is starting to work.