General Electric’s (GE) financial arm has recently announced that the company will no longer be providing financial services to gun retailers. GE had previously offered loans to gun buyers through individual stores, but had limited the program in 2008 to existing customers only. According to USA Today, the move will affect 75 gun shops nationwide.
The decision was in part motivated by the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragic event happened not far away from GE’s headquarters in Fairfield, and many of the company’s employees called Newtown home. Adam Lanza, the shooter who took the lives of 27 people including his mother and himself, was the son of Peter Lanza, vice president of taxes for GE. Soon after, the company held several meetings to help employees affected by the shooting cope with the trauma.
GE spokesperson Russell Wilkerson wrote in an email that the new policy is a result of “industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms.”
Wilkerson also added that the financing to gun shops from GE is “an immaterial part of our sales volume.”
Firearm retailers have already begun receiving letters notifying them of the program’s end. Stores that sell other merchandise in addition to firearms, such as Wal-Mart, will not be affected by the new policy.
General Electric is not the first major company to revise its relations with the firearm industry after Newtown. Earlier this year, Comcast Cable and online deal-and-coupon company Groupon announced they were pulling most firearm-related advertisements. Perhaps the largest stone in the pond is Cerberus Capital Management’s ongoing bid to sell the Freedom Group, a major player in the firearm industry that includes names like Bushmaster and Remington Arms.