Feb 24, 2018

Scoop: Bank of America to review relationships with gunmakers

AR-15 semi-automatic guns on display at a gun store in Utah. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Beginning what could become a widespread financial squeeze on gun manufacturers, Bank of America says in a statement to Axios that it is reexamining its relationship with banking clients who make AR-15s.

"We are joining other companies in our industry to examine what we can do to help end the tragedy of mass shootings, and an immediate step we’re taking is to engage the limited number of clients we have that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility."
— Statement from Bank of America

Reading between the lines: This sounds like Bank of America thinks that servicing these manufacturers may not be consistent with its Responsible Growth strategy, which calls for "addressing the challenges of our time."

  • The context: In 2015, Bank of America and other banks backed away from funding coal mining.

Delta tweet this morning: "Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website."

  • The big picture: "A call to boycott the National Rifle Association became the top trend on Twitter as users of the global social media platform demanded that a variety of companies sever ties with the lobbying group."
  • "The online furor [came] a day after the NRA’s leaders attacked the media and Democrats, claiming the fallout from last week’s Florida high school massacre was being politicized." (Bloomberg)

United Airlines also tweeted: "United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website."

  • Go deeper ... Axios list of companies dropping NRA partnerships amid social media uproar.

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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