GE Capital to quit financing firearms sales

April 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM
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FAIRFIELD, Conn., April 24 (UPI) -- U.S. lender General Electric Capital said in a letter it was no longer offering financing for the purchase of firearms.

The letter that was sent to gun store owners said the company had made a "difficult decision," to retreat from financing firearm sales, a decision made in the wake of the Newton, Conn., shooting spree that resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six adults.

Company spokesman Russell Wilkerson said the decision was made because of "industry changes, new legislation and tragic events."

The impact on the gun business will be marginal, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. It will have little impact on gun sales, which in 2012 reached $11.7 billion. At GE Capital financing gun sales is an "insignificant and immaterial" part of the business, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson also said the GE Capital was cutting ties with gun shops where the business was primarily selling firearms. But it would still do business with stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods, which carry a broad range of products.

Cerberus Capital Management LP said after the shooting spree that it would put its gun company, Freedom Group Inc., up for sale. GE is the second major firm to take action after the event, the Journal said.

GE was personally affected by the tragedy. It's headquarters is in Fairfield, Conn., and many of its employees have children that attend Sandy Hook, the school where the shooting took place. A GE executive, Peter Lanza, is the father of the gunman, Adam Lanza, who killed himself as first responders arrived at the school.

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