News and Commentary

Rahm Emanuel Says He’ll Stem Chicago’s Gun Violence By Punishing . . . Banks?

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel has come up with a brilliant new plan to stem the city’s gun violence problem and cut down on the approximately 600 homicides committed within the city each year: punish banks who make loans to weapons manufacturers.

Emanuel echoed calls from other anti-gun agitators, including Parkland student David Hogg, to force lending organizations and investment banks to drop gun-related clients, even if those clients are freely engaging in the flow of commerce.

The mayor’s plan is a little different from Hogg’s, however. Instead of pulling support and interest from financial institutions, Emanuel would cut those same financial institutions off from receiving contracts with the city of Chicago unless those same institutions filed affidavits “verifying that their customers ban the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines” and wouldn’t sell guns to anyone under 21 years of age (three years older than the federal minimum age for firearm purchases, 18).

“When it comes to fighting for stronger, smarter gun laws Chicago is putting our money where our mouth is,” Emanuel said in a press release. “The private sector has a role to play in supporting public safety. Chicago should give our business to companies who share our values and want to be part of the solution to gun violence, not profit from it.”

The banks, of course, fought back, calling Emanuel’s restrictions an “impossible standard.” The Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee eventually tabled a vote on the measure.

It may be just as well. If Chicago is hesitant to do business with banks, banks are more hesitant to do business with Chicago. Chicago’s credit rating is hovering just above “junk bond” status, and the city has sold off so much debt, financial institutions are already wary of entering into contracts with any aspect of Chicago city government.

As for becoming a contractor, well, since Chicago’s had such immense budget problems, there’s no guarantee hard work would be compensated fairly, or on time.