Will Wall Street ever let go of guns?

That question has come up before -- after the shootings in Newtown, in Orlando, in Las Vegas, and on and on.

Now, with the nation’s emotions raw over the killings in Florida last week, evidence is mounting that investors may be rethinking their long, fraught relationship with the firearms industry.

On Thursday, the day the head of the National Rifle Association issued a searing rebuttal to calls for stricter gun control, the nation’s largest privately owned bank announced it would stop issuing NRA-sponsored credit cards.

Then, the investment giant BlackRock Inc. said it was exploring ways to cull gun companies from the portfolios of clients who no longer wish to invest in them. In Florida, site of the latest tragedy, teachers expressed frustration that their retirement funds own gun stocks, following revelations that holdings included the maker of the assault rifle used to kill 17 students and educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Activists have made similar appeals for years, only to see all the moments pass. Taken together, the recent developments suggest that, at least for the moment, the financial community senses the rising public pressure -- and is positioning itself accordingly.

“Now is the time for the financial services industry to step off the sidelines and take a stand,” said Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Trillium Asset Management, which focuses on sustainable investments.

The question is whether other investors, both big and small, are willing to exit investments that have plunged in value over the past year. Gun sales -- and gun stocks -- have tumbled since Donald Trump rose to the presidency. The thinking was that his administration, unlike the previous one, would be unlikely to push for stricter gun controls given its support from the NRA.

A quiet backlash has been building for years. Some major endowments, such as the $10 billion University of California fund, sold guns stocks after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, which prompted calls for more gun control.

“We continue to monitor this issues and take it very seriously," said Dianne Klein, a spokesperson the university system. Others are, too. On Thursday, the First National Bank of Omaha said it wouldn’t renew its contract with the NRA for a branded credit card, because of “customer feedback.”

First « 1 2 3 » Next