Anti-gun activists and politicians are doing everything they can to effectively disarm the public.
Already this year, extreme and unconstitutional gun control measures have been proposed at the state and federal levels. There has been a lot of pushback, thankfully: a growing number of counties (and even some states) have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries and are refusing to enforce gun-control laws that infringe on the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Sheriffs in Washington, Colorado, and New Mexico have publicly stated they will refuse to enforce new gun control legislation – and some are even willing to be jailed for their defiance.
Two extreme gun control bills have already passed the House this year and are awaiting Senate votes (they are unlikely to pass there, experts say).
Gun-grabbers are working on another target: banks.
Gun control advocates “are seeking to use access to financial services as a means to punish and suppress lawful firearm-related commerce,” writes the NRA in Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services:
First came Operation Choke Point, a supposed “anti-fraud” effort during the Obama administration that morphed into a campaign by federal regulators to intimidate banks and payment processers into refusing business with politically disfavored clients, including firearm-related businesses. That program was officially repudiated by the Trump Administration, but for some businesses, the damage had already been done.
Anti-gunners next turned directly to the financial service providers themselves, extorting them with “social justice” condemnation for “financing” mass shootings and insisting they drop their firearm industry clients or impose gun control-like conditions on doing business with them. Several national banks did just that.
Activist institutional investors in publicly-traded gun companies also tried to embarrass those companies with proxy actions designed to portray the businesses in a negative light. To date, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful. (source)
Gun control advocates are trying to intimidate banks into refusing service to gun companies.
Now, anti-gun members of Congress are attempting to use Choke Point-like tactics in an effort to intimidate banks and marginalize law-abiding businesses in the firearm sector:
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) went so far as to berate the president and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank during a public oversight hearing for refusing to buckle to the pressure of the anti-gun lobby’s demands.
“How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?” Maloney demanded to know.
To his credit, the Wells Fargo executive stood firm, replying, “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.” (source)
At stake for gun owners is whether the industries that provide firearms, ammunition, and related accessories will be able to participate in the economy at all if these tyrants get their way.
Some members of Congress are already deploying extreme measures.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), like Maloney, sits on the House Financial Services Committee, which is involved in banking oversight.
Ocasio-Cortez already seems quite at home in her new position and just fine with doing whatever it takes (ethical or not) to push her agenda. She recently told Politico, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and not everything has to be done through legislation explicitly. We can also use the tools that we have here to pressure change in other ways as well.”
That includes the implicit threat of telling regulated entities they are now on the Official Naughty List for not toeing the political line and unleashing activist hordes to bombard their social media feeds with defamatory accusations or to perhaps take more drastic action in the real world. (source)
Two Senators have introduced a bill to stop banks from denying services to the gun industry.
On March 14, pro-gun Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S. 821 the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to ensure large financial institutions cannot deny service to certain constitutionally-protected industries that are fully compliant with all laws and statutes.
The Act would restrict banks’ access to loans from the Federal Reserve’s discount window if they refused to serve legal firearms businesses for reasons outside of “traditional” underwriting. In addition, the bill would also restrict payment card networks from declining to serve the industry because of political or reputational concerns.
A press release posted on Cramer’s website states:
A small number of banks controlling most of the financial sector could effectively illegalize legal commerce by refusing to finance certain industries or process certain transactions,” said Senator Cramer. “Look no further than pro-Second Amendment industries where such discrimination has already occurred. Big banks should not be the arbiters of constitutionality.”
“It’s not a bank’s job to create policy. They need to leave the policymaking to Congress,” said Senator Kennedy. “Banks should not be able to discriminate against lawful customers on the basis of social policy. The banks should keep in mind that these lawful customers are the same hard-working taxpayers who bailed them out during the recession. This legislation will ban big banks from refusing to do business with customers that may not share the same political values as the bank. This kind of power move is an unfair assertion of dominance by the big banks, which is why it should be illegal.”
“American taxpayers need to be reassured their tax dollars that subsidize insurance and bailout policies for banking institutions aren’t weaponized in an attempt to eradicate a lawful industry because it has fallen out of favor with boardroom bureaucrats,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Senator Cramer’s leadership in confronting this issue guarantees social policies are debated and created by the elected officials Americans vote to represent their interests, not by faceless corporate boards representing the interest of the few. We applaud Senator Cramer for his clear vision in correcting this abuse of American trust and taxpayer dollars.” (source)
Others are speaking up to protect gun rights.
Cramer and Kennedy are not alone in their efforts.
Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, recently warned the banking industry that it should not attempt to restrict legal gun sales by denying financial services to members of the gun industry. He sent letters to eight bank CEOs reminding them that they should continue to provide credit and services to customers and companies that comply with federal and state law, and should not seek to replace legislators and policymakers:
“Banks serve customers who are geographically and politically diverse, and it is wrong to use essential banking services as a way to choke off such services to lawful, creditworthy businesses,” wrote Crapo. “Large banks, which receive significant forms of government support and benefits, should continue to provide credit and services to customers and companies that comply with federal and state law and should not seek to replace legislators and policymakers. Business lending decisions should be based on creditworthiness, rather than politics or political pressure.” (source)
In the last year, several banks have attempted to restrict what kinds of guns can be sold to the public and who they can be sold to by applying financial pressure, reports The Washington Free Beacon:
Bank of America announced last year it would deny services to companies that produce “military-style firearms.” Around the same time, JP Morgan Chase said it would limit its business with gun companies. Citibank went further by declaring it would not do business with any company that sells what they called “high capacity” magazines or that sells firearms to adults between the age of 18 and 21.
For the most part, gun-grabbers are being stopped from achieving their tyrannical agenda thanks to the division of political power in DC.
However, they remain determined to keep trying to impose their unconstitutional (and arguably unethical and immoral) ideas upon the rest of us at every turn.
As the NRA warns:
It is important to keep in mind that the national banks targeted by this legislation owe their very existence in large part to government and taxpayer largesse. Among other things, they benefit from public bailouts and federally-subsidized loan programs, as well as from infrastructure financed or subsidized by the government.
Private businesses generally enjoy broad discretion in setting their own policies and objectives, as is appropriate in our free market system. But exclusionary politics in the financial services industries hearken back to some of the most shameful episodes in American history. They are rightfully condemned, and have long been rightfully prohibited in other contexts. (source)
Will more banks cave to the pressure?