While gun lobbyists exchange high-fives over victories in Washington, General Electric (NYSE:GE) is showing it has more integrity than the U.S. Senate. GE’s Capital Finance, which has offered loans to gun buyers in the past, announced it would stop helping shoppers who cannot afford to pay for assault weapons, rifles or handguns out of pocket.
Industry Changes, New Legislation and Tragic Events
The GE initiative targeted shops that sold guns as their main store focus, according to a company spokesperson. The move will affect about 75 retailers in all, a small figure (less than 1 percent) in the grand scheme of gun retailers, yet the company went out of its way to cite recent events as motivation behind the changes.
GE’s Russell Wilkerson said the company cut the financing following “a more rigorous audit process in our sporting goods segment in light of industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms.” The stance marks a departure from the hard line taken by gun manufacturers and their lobbyists in Washington’s back rooms. The NRA, for example, has seen an opening in the tragedies, calling for the issuance of guns to school security guards everywhere. The rise in rifle sales following Sandy Hook reflected a trend welcomed by gun stock investors as well…
GE, however, might be showing it is too close for comfort to the events at Sandy Hook, which claimed the lives of 20 schoolchildren and 27 people in all. The Fairfield company’s main office are located a short distance from Sandy Hook and according to the Wall Street Journal, the father of mass murderer Adam Lanza works for GE Capital.
In essence, the company is making a move designed to create moves at a time when public support for gun law reform is limited to outraged citizens (an overwhelming majority) and politicians not running for reelection in their districts and states. Following the defeat of legislation in the Senate in the past weeks, President Obama called the day a “shameful” one for America. GE is showing that, though its money might not be where its mouth is, its heart is in the right place.
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