In the fall of 2018, Guns Down America researched the links between the gun industry and the top 15 consumer-facing banks (by consolidated assets) in the United States.
We reviewed media archives, Securities and Exchange Commission records, campaign finance reports, and internet sources from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018 in order to identify relationships and examples of mutual support between the banks, the gun industry, the NRA, and NRA-backed members of Congress. All searches were completed by January 15, 2019.
We sought to identify and evaluate the following:
- Financial relationships between banks and gun, ammunition, and accessory manufacturers during the last three years;
- Financial relationships between the banks and the National Rifle Association or Gun Owners of America;
- Banks that provide special NRA member benefits or participating in product sponsorships
- Statements made by banks reflecting their public positions on gun violence, gun control policy, or mass violence; and
- Campaign donations to the NRA’s Million Dollar Members.
All grades are based on a 100-point scale and are calculated by weighing how each bank compares with its competitors.
The point value for this letter grade was derived from three specific categories: 1) financing of the gun industry, 2) ties and policy toward doing business with the gun industry and the NRA, and 3) support for NRA-backed lawmakers.
An individual bank can obtain up to 40 points in the “Financing” category.
- 40 points — If no financing is found
- 30 points — If a bank invested under $100 million
- 20 points — If a bank invested between $100 million and $150 million
- 10 points — If a bank invested between $150 million and $200 million
- 0 points — If a bank invested over $200 million
An individual bank can obtain up to 40 points in the “Policy & Ties” category.
- 10 points — If a bank provides no benefits to NRA members
- 10 points — If a bank has no relationship with the NRA or Gun Owners of America
- 20 points — If a bank has a clear policy on doing business with gun manufacturers
An individual bank can obtain up to 10 points in the “Contributions” category.
- 10 points — If no contributions are found
- 5 points — If a bank gave less than $40,000
- 4 points — If a bank gave between $40,000 and $60,000
- 3 points — If a bank gave between $60,000 and $80,000
- 0 points — If a bank gave over $80,000
An individual bank can receive up to 10 additional points for taking steps to slowly break ties with the gun industry. (These points are awarded at the discretion of Guns Down America and its partners).