Citigroup restricts gun sales by its customers

Citigroup on Thursday became the first Wall Street bank to take a stance in the nationwide gun control debate. The company announced that it will set restrictions on the sale of firearms by its business customers.

The new policy prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are under the age of 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

"They looked at the numbers and said, 'OK, if we phrase it like this, this makes us look good, it gives us a good hit in the press, and it won't hit our bottom line that much,'" said Peter Shankman, a marketing consultant.

The policy will apply to Citigroup's small business, commercial, and institutional clients that borrow funds, use banking services, or raise money through the bank. If partners choose not to comply, Citi will help them take their business elsewhere.

"Right now, putting some distance between themselves and gun manufacturers and the gun lobby is good for business and that has to scare the NRA," said David Birdsell, Baruch College's dean of public affairs. Though, he said, businesses getting political can get tricky.

In the announcement, Ed Skyler, Citi's executive vice president, called out lawmakers for not doing enough to prevent gun violence.

"As a society, we all know that something needs to change," Skyler wrote. "And as a company, we feel we must do our part."

Several companies have made changes to their policies in recent weeks following the Parkland shooting. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines ended their discount programs with the NRA. Dick's Sporting Goods announced its stores would no longer carry assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.