Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks about legislation and policies to reduce and prevent gun violence during a policy discussion at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, on January 14, 2013. Emanuel was a senior adviser to former US President Bill Clinton during the passage of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is urging two of the biggest financial institutions in the country to stop supporting gun manufacturers unless the companies agree to "common sense reforms" on firearms. The issue of gun control aside, the request sounds a little like blackmail.
Emanuel reportedly sent letters to the CEOs of Bank of America and TD Bank urging them to stop lines of credit, financing for acquisitions and expansions and financial advising unless they get on board with gun control. Among other things, the former Obama advisor wants gun makers to support criminal background checks on all gun sales.
“In the past, the gun industry has stood in opposition to these safety measures. They opposed a ban on assault weapons on America’s streets, opposed a ban on military-style clips, opposed a criminal background check on all gun purchases and opposed any effort to crack down on criminal gun traffickers," Emanuel wrote.
In the same letter, Emanuel complains that TD Bank offers Smith & Wesson a $60 million line of credit, a company that produces AR-15 rifles. Why shouldn't they have a line of credit? The company has done nothing illegal and AR-15s are perfectly legal weapons.
The Chicago mayor also appealed to the CEO's emotions by mentioning that James Holmes used an AR-15 in the Aurora, Colo. shooting that left 12 people dead. What he failed to mention is, Holmes' AR-15 reportedly jammed during the attack and so he used pistols and a shotgun in the tragic shooting.
Addressing TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani, Emanuel told him "to use your influence to push this company to find common ground" on an assault weapons ban and gun background checks.
Emanuel also told Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan to take the same action with Sturm, Ruger & Co., which currently has a $25 million line of credit with the bank.
“Collectively we can send a clear and unambiguous message to the entire gun industry that investors will no longer financially support companies that support gun violence,” Emanuel wrote.
Another glaring question: How does legally manufacturing firearms translate into "support[ing] gun violence?"
More from CBS Chicago:
Last week, Emanuel ordered a portfolio analysis from the five pension and retirement funds for Chicago employees to determine if fund managers hold financial interests in companies that manufacture or sell assault weapons.
This week, the Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) board voted to divest more than $1 million from three companies that manufacture assault weapons – Freedom Group, Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger.