Backdoor gun control hasn’t really worked for the gun grabbers in the past. Now they are overtly going for our guns and don’t need Congress to do it either…
First, a little history:
Unless you are in the firearms industry, follow gun news closely or work for a bank or money lender the words “Operation Choke Point” probably mean very little to you. However, those of us in the firearms industry turn red when we hear it. If you follow pro-gun organizations and blogs, you read a lot about backdoor gun control and Operation Choke Point was one very serious way the Obama administration tried to control gun sales.
In 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ), along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) began an initiative to prevent fraud and money laundering by investigating banks, payment processors and money lenders that did business with industries the two agencies deemed “high risk.” These included Cable Box De-scramblers, Credit Repair Services, Dating Services, Drug Paraphernalia, Escort Services, Ponzi Schemes, Pornography, Racist Materials, ammunition and firearm sales.” Operation Choke Point flew under the radar for months—no media reported on it, businesses didn’t speak out, but on December 29, 2012, an AR-15 manufacturer based in Arizona called American Spirit Arms had their Bank of America (BoA) accounts frozen. Posting on social media, Joe Sirochman, owner of the store said that a manager at BoA told him his accounts had been frozen because BoA believed he “should not be selling guns and parts on the internet.”
To read more about Operation Choke Point, click here.
Then, Bank of American ended their 12-year, good-standing relationship with McMillan Group International, manufacturers of high-end stocks and (then) tactical and custom high-end rifles (the company sold off their firearms manufacturing division to Strategic Armory Corps in 2013.) Owner Kelly McMillan reported that BoA’s decision was because the company switched focus from making fiberglass stocks to manufacturing firearms. BoA denied Kelly’s statements and pointed out that the bank had recently issued $250 million in bonds to Freedom Group.
One of the largest Class III dealers in the U.S., BMADDOX Enterprises was denied a loan for expansion from Wells Fargo. The Vice President of Business Banking at Wells Fargo said, “…our corporate legal department will not allow us to extend credit to any business related to firearms.” During the same time, Citibank publicly admitted to their restrictions when it closed Nevada Pistol Academy’s accounts. Mark Rodgers, a Citibank spokesperson, said, “Citibank’s consumer business has a longstanding policy of not engaging in financial relationships with businesses that manufacture or sell military weapons, military munitions or firearms.”
Other firearm businesses fell victim to Operation Choke Point: Powderhorn Outfitter, Black Rifle Armory, Top Gun Firearms Training and Supply, Nordic Components, and Gladwin Guns and Ammo.
Four years later, in July 2017, Republican Congressmen and women wrote a letter to the Department of Justice requesting Operation Choke Point come to an official end, stating, “The Obama Administration created this ill-advised program to suffocate legitimate businesses to which it was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses.”
But apparently, banks don’t need excuses anymore.
Taking Matters into Their Own Hands
Despite the excise tax on shooting and hunting equipment, including the sale of ammo and guns generating $1.1 billion in 2016 that pays for conservation, public shooting range development and hunting and shooting safety programs. In 2012, after realizing that they wouldn’t be able to push any type of gun control or gun restriction laws through Congress, many anti-gun celebrities, organizations and politicians decided to encourage raising taxes on firearm and ammo sales or require gun owners to purchase and carry a specialized liability insurance in order to pay for the “public health-related expenses of ‘gun violence.” These people completely ignored the fact that in 2016, the excise tax on shooting and hunting equipment, including the sale of ammo and guns generated $1.1 billion. They somehow think that penalizing legal gun owners will stop mass shootings.
Seattle, Washington imposed a gun tax law on January 1, 2016. After two years of the new law, the Seattle Police Department reported a 37% increase in the number of people injured by gunshots and double the number of gun deaths.
Despite the suggestions, excessive taxation of firearms and ammo barely gained any ground and the subject pretty much died off. But now, after the February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, private organizations are taking matters into their own hands.
Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Bank of America’s vice chairman, Anne Finucane stated that the bank will stop funding “manufacturers of military-style firearms… We have let them know that it’s not our intent to underwrite or finance military-style firearms on a go-forward basis.” Bank of America is the second largest bank in the country and lends to Vista Outdoor, Remington and Ruger. Finucane did not deny the bank’s plans to end relationships with retailers who stock AR-15s in the future.
Citigroup already took an anti-gun stand. You can read about their decisions here.
Will Wells Fargo and Chase be next?
Pressure from people organizing on social media right after the Parkland shooting led many companies to end relationships with gun companies and the NRA. It only took a few days for over 15 companies, including First National Bank, Hertz and Avis rental cars, Delta and United Airlines, and Wyndham Hotels end their NRA member discounts on products and services. Blackrock, Inc., one of the largest stakeholders in Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Vista Outdoors has said they would be reexamining its relationships and asking firearm companies how they are going to be “socially responsible” in the future.
Last week, The Truth About Guns reported that Tactical Night Vision Company had been ditched by Chase Bank and Wells Fargo. Tactical Night Vision posted this on ar15.com:
So after 37 years of business, (13 years of direct corp business), they have given us notice that we have to look for another bank to do our business with. This based on our “profile”, whatever that means. they would not tell us any details. A few years ago Chase told us they could not do any of our Merchant Card Processing because we sold “high power lasers”.
It seems the more and more of the banking industry is joining suit as many know just as Citi Bank announced THIS I know McMillan and a few others have already been down this path. Heck we’re not even a firearms manufacture (not that it matters), this is outrageous family run business’s getting held hostage for political gains. After all, the firearms industry as a whole is a multi-billion dollar industry. All too familiar what U-Tube is doing as well.
We know, “welcome to the party pal”….It begins.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union with 1.7 million members, released a statement asking Wells Fargo to cut ties with the NRA or they would stop offering the Wells Fargo mortgage program to AFT union members. There are more than 20,000 AFT members that take advantage of the program. AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “The lives of students and educators must be valued more than guns. The is America—Wells Fargo has the right to be the NRA banker, but we have rights too. That’s why if Tim doesn’t ditch his guns business, we’ll ditch Wells Fargo. We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum—they can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers. They can’t do both.” The Tim she is referring to is Tim Sloan, the CEO of Wells Fargo.
Gun Love spoke to an educator from Oklahoma who used to be a member of the AFT and they said that the President makes decisions such as these without a vote from union members.
Only time will tell what the impact will be.
What do you think? Tell us in the comment section below.