Operation Choke Point Part Deux?

Ask any business owner that works in the firearms industry about their financial services experiences and you’ll probably get an earful. What is normally a relatively simple process for most retail operations suddenly becomes complex and full of challenges. That’s okay, we get that not everyone understands or appreciates all things firearms, but when an entire legal industry is targeted, well… it’s time to take notice and push back.

For those of you not familiar with it, Operation Choke Point was a 2013 program of the US Department of Justice. The goal was supposed to be cut off the funding for businesses with a higher risk for fraud and money laundering. It accomplished this by threatening federal investigations of the banks if they did business with certain “high-risk” businesses such as Ponzi schemes, debt consolidation scams, cable box descramblers, escort services, pornography and payday loans. Also lumped into this “high-risk” category were firearms and ammunition sales.

While they may have had laudable intentions to protect consumers, the hit list became a political tool to be used against any type of business the former administration didn’t like. Banks were placed in a difficult spot. Continue to service legal and legitimate businesses they had worked with for years or even decades and risk constant federal investigations of their practices, or cut off the businesses and avoid the hassle. Many chose the safer, less intrusive path and simply closed the accounts of firearm and ammunition businesses and refused to open any new accounts for anyone in the firearms industry.

Small and large firearm business owners alike were forced to scramble to find financial services with providers willing to endure the federal harassment. For many, this meant going considerable distances just for basic services.

Fortunately, this ill-advised government sponsored attack on the firearms industry was halted in August 2017 when the new administration came in. However, that hasn’t stopped the gun control zealots from using the financial services industry to try to destroy anything and everything to do with legal firearms commerce.

The latest assault has come from the so-called “grassroots” organizations, all incredibly well funded and coordinated by the same anti-gun elitists who are sponsoring gun control around the nation. This time, without an administration willing to use government resources to stop lawful commerce, they are using the power of biased media to shame financial services companies into changing their business practices.

Where did this all come from? Following the Parkland, Florida shooting, a full-on preplanned and well-coordinated assault was made on those the anti-gun elitists held solely responsible — the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the firearms industry. Companies that did business with the NRA were bullied into severing ties in order to save face with the public. Banks were pressured into cutting ties with anyone in the firearm industry that manufactured or sold so-called “assault weapons”. In addition, new banking agreements were drawn up that demanded all firearms manufacturers and retailers only sell products face-to-face after a federal background check — something already in place by state and federal law — as well as demanding the companies have plans to reduce the amount of “gun violence”.

Credit card processers began closing the accounts of firearms related businesses, returning the funds to the card holders on already completed transactions, leaving retailers scrambling to recover the costs of goods and services already completed.

Why did companies like Bank of America and Intuit among many others take this approach? All have said it was not a political decision. They are simply taking a socially conscious and responsible path and, in the case of Bank of America, “lowering the temperature of fear” among their employees. Welcome to virtue signaling.

If you think this is the end of it, think again. Gateway companies such as PayPal, Square, Stripe and Apple Pay already deny the use of their products for firearms sales saying it is inconsistent with their values and in the best interest of their customers. Banks and credit card processors themselves are already exploring ways to monitor or restrict firearms purchases using their products, including a new merchant code for firearm retailers and requiring firearm retailers share details about the products being purchased at the point of sale.

Imagine a day where you go to your local firearms retailer, diligently complete all the federally required paperwork and pass the background check for the legal purchase of a new firearm and are denied by your bank or credit card company because it is inconsistent with their morally superior corporate values.

If you work in the firearms industry, manufacturing, distribution, retail firearm or ammunition sales, training, repair or accessories, you can expect continued restrictions as virtue signaling becomes the norm to appease the gun control zealot’s media onslaught.

If you are a consumer, you can expect higher prices as fewer financial services companies willing to work with the firearms industry will inevitably lead to increased costs of doing business. You can also expect more scrutiny, tracking and the possibility of having your purchases denied because they don’t agree with what you are buying or who you are buying it from.

This all leaves us with a bit of a quandary. On one hand, private businesses should have the ability to decide who they will and will not do business with. On the other hand, declining customers legal business because you don’t agree with their politics, products or purchases smacks of discrimination — all the very same arguments for and against the bakeries and restaurants that have been in the news lately.

Of course — then there’s the whole reality of this ONLY impacting law-abiding firearm owners, the ones who are purchasing firearms, ammunition and accessories from legal sources, navigating all the regulations and paperwork to be in full compliance with the law.

So while Operation Choke Point Part Deux isn’t a government-sponsored program, it is nonetheless organized and sponsored by the very same people who brought you the original. More restrictions on your ability to legally purchase, own and use firearms while doing nothing to prevent crime or increase public safety.

Bob

#oddstuffing, #Constitution, #BillOfRights, #SecondAmendment, #GunControl, #OperationChokePoint, #OperationChokePointPartDuex, #discrimination, #creditcards, #GunControlFails, #mewe, #medium, #oddstuffing.com

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Odd Stuffing

A weekly commentary on the issues, events and people impacting the Second Amendment community, the state, nation and world.