GOP senators push back against New York bank's anti-firearm stance

The Senators, led by Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee, accused Amalgamated Bank of manipulating Switzerland's IOS to require U.S. banks to categorize gun purchases.

Updated: October 5, 2022 - 12:47am

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U.S. Senate Republicans are threatening to hold hearings on what they call an anti-firearms policy by one New York-based bank.

The Senators, led by Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee, accused Amalgamated Bank of manipulating Switzerland's International Organization for Standardization to require U.S. banks to categorize gun purchases.

"Whether it is choosing to debank firearms manufacturers, forcing all commercial clients to adopt anti-gun control codes, or divesting customer assets from lawful businesses, these decisions demonstrate your attempt to force your political views on law-abiding Americans," the 26 senators wrote in their letter. "If you want to change gun policy, you should run for office and make yourself accountable to voters. What's worse, these actions weren't enough for you, so you set your sights on forcing these radical and discriminatory policies on the entire financial system."

Just the News was the first to report the bank’s role in getting credit companies to create the new gun and ammunition transaction code. 

Amalgamated Bank lists 10 social causes on its website, which include gun safety and anti-violence. The bank does not loan money to "gun, nuclear weapon or ammunition manufacturers or distributors," according to the website.

The banks should "expect Congressional oversight of your actions," the senators wrote.

"Let us be clear: weaponizing the financial system to enact far-left political goals is inexcusable," the letter said. "You should consider this notice to retain all communications involving your role in ISO's categorization scheme, and you should anticipate testifying before Congress in the near future."

Amalgamated Bank did not respond to a request from The Center Square for comment Tuesday. President and CEO Priscilla Sims Brown called categorizing credit card gun purchases a "victory" in a statement last month.

"This action answers the call of millions of Americans who want safety from gun violence, and we are proud to lead a broad coalition of advocates, shareholders, and elected officials to achieve this historic outcome," Brown said.

The attorneys general of New York and California also backed the decision for a separate category for credit card gun purchases.

"Categorizing gun sales can help us work with our partners in police departments to combat gun violence and save live," New York State Attorney General Letitia James said.