Wells Fargo is the gun industry's top financier. The San Francisco-based bank also provides a $28 million line of credit to the National Rifle Association and is the NRA's primary banker.
This information is drawn from five years of data compiled by Bloomberg News, gathered since the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012. Since that mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Wells Fargo has been the top go-to bank for those in the gun business needing a loan.
When Wells Fargo and other banks involved in the firearms sector do business with gun manufacturers, it is in the form of bookrunning -- which, according to Bloomberg reporters, means the banks are arranging the borrowing, setting up the debt. While the debt may begin with one bank, it could end up dispersed among several.
The gun companies cited by the Bloomberg report with which Wells Fargo does a large amount of business include: American Outdoor Brands, Remington Outdoor, Sturm Ruger & Co. and Vista Outdoor. American Outdoor Brands, known as Smith & Wesson until January 2017, makes a version of the AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle associated with some mass shootings.
KQED asked Polly Mosendz, Bloomberg's firearms reporter, if she knew why Smith & Wesson had undergone a name change last year. Mosendz said the company was diversifying its product to include other items such as targets, holsters, knives and tree saws, in addition to its more well-known products of firearms of all sorts.