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Gun manufacturers are losing the support of corporate America. Photo: Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

Banks, financial institutions and retail stores are all pushing back against the gun industry by taking steps to slow the sale of firearms and blocking the industry's financial options in response to the United States' continued problems with mass shootings.

The big picture: Second Amendment advocates fear that Corporate America's pushback against the gun industry could be a backdoor way — without legislation or a constitutional amendment — to roll back Americans' gun rights.

The state of play: Corporate entities are hesitant to support gun manufacturers and sellers as today's social media age of instant reactions increasingly demands that corporations take a stand on social issues.

  • Payment processing firms are limiting firearm transactions, per the Chicago Tribune.
  • Some financial institutions, including the Bank of America and Citigroup, have both restricted their business with gun manufacturers and buyers in recent months.
  • Walmart raised the age requirement to purchase firearms to 21 in February.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods also raised its minimum age to purchase firearms to 21 — and banned the sale of assault-style weapons.

The other side: Gun advocates are concerned that, even if the Second Amendment doesn't change, changing attitudes on firearms will eventually render the right to bear arms useless.

If you can't make guns, if you can't sell guns, the Second Amendment doesn't mean much.
— Michael Hammond, legal counsel for Gun Owners of America, to the Chicago Tribune
  • Republican Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho) wrote to Citigroup saying there should be concern "if banks like yours seek to replace legislators."

The effect: Gun manufacturers have been feeling the pressure. Remington, one of the nation's largest gun makers, has been in and out of bankruptcy over the last few months and struggled with its banks.

The bottom line: For major corporations, the fear of being the next company implicated in a mass shooting is a driving force.

  • Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack told The New York Times after Parkland: "[I]t came to us that we could have been a part of this story ... We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer."

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.