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Ahead of NRA Speech, Cruz Bashes Big Banks Over Restrictions on Guns

Texas Republican expected to speak after Pence, Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among the scheduled spears at Friday’s NRA convention. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among the scheduled spears at Friday’s NRA convention. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of his own speech to the National Rifle Association Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz was focused on a pair of big banks that are imposing restrictions on firearm sales conducted by their business partners.

“Under this new policy, we will require new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to these best practices: (1) they don’t sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check, (2) they restrict the sale of firearms for individuals under 21 years of age, and (3) they don’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines,” Citi said in its March announcement of the gun policy changes. “This policy will apply across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label.”

Citi did not extend its policy to restricting the ability of individuals with credit or debit cards issued by the bank from using them. Bank of America has announced changes of its own regarding lending practices.

But the GOP senator from Texas is now criticizing the banks for what he views as an insufficient commitment to the Second Amendment.

“The citizens of Texas — including your millions of customers in Texas — appear to have a stronger commitment to protecting our constitutional liberties than do your boardrooms. Texans value Liberty and our God-given right to protect ourselves and our families too much to allow giant banks to dictate our rights, including our right to keep and bear arms,” Cruz wrote. “The Bill of Rights should not be subject to corporate pressure or financial coercion.”

The letter, addressed to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, cites Cruz’s role as chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution.

Cruz’s speech to the NRA meeting is expected to take place not long after Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump address the gathering in Dallas.

In writing to the banking executives in what appeared to be a prelude to his address to the gun rights group, Cruz also makes reference to the use of taxpayer dollars to help keep the financial system afloat through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“The American taxpayer gave Citigroup $20 billion in cash and hundreds of billions more to guarantee its bad investments — the most in cash and guarantees from American taxpayers of any financial institution,” Cruz wrote. “Bank of America likewise received a taxpayer bailout of $45 billion and a guarantee of $118 billion against potential losses. In short, your banks exist today only because of the (perhaps foolish) largess of the taxpayers whose constitutional rights you are now trying to restrict.”

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