Devastation Of Under-The-Radar Campaigns
Anti-gun and anti-industry campaigns come in many forms. There are overreaching laws, of course, but there are other methods of severely restricting gun ownership, along with dramatically impacting the commerce of firearms.
Take “Operation Choke Point,” for example. The program of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) targeted specific industries deemed “high-risk,” which resulted in the cancellation of essential banking relationship. Among those industries listed as “high-risk” were “Ammunition Sales” and “Firearms Sales.”
The NSSF, in late May, issued a statement on “Operation Choke Point,” indicating the trade association had “heard from several industry members that they had banking relationships terminated by their lending institutions,” as a result of the FDIC program.
“We respect the right of financial institutions to make business decisions based on objective criteria. It is unacceptable, however, to discriminate against businesses simply because they are engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms, an activity protected by the Second Amendment,” read the NSSF statement.
NSSF officials met with members of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and worked with legislators on an amendment to deny federal funding of “Operation Choke Point” or in any effort targeting companies involved in the lawful commerce in firearms.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), conducted hearings and issued a report titled: “The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point’: Illegally Choking Off Legitimate Businesses?”
Among the committee’s key findings:
— “‘Operation Choke Point’ was created by the Justice Department to “choke out” companies the Administration considers a “high-risk” or otherwise objectionable, despite the fact that they are legal businesses.
— “‘Operation Choke Point’ has forced banks to terminate relationships with a wide variety of entirely lawful and legitimate merchants. … Acting in coordination with ‘Operation Choke Point,’ bank regulators labeled a wide range of lawful merchants as ‘high-risk’ — including coin dealers, firearms and ammunition sales and short-term lending.”
The committee’s final conclusion:
“In light of the [Justice] Department’s obligation to act within the bounds of the law, and its avowed commitment not to ‘discourage or inhibit’ the lawful conduct of honest merchants, it is necessary to disavow and dismantle ‘Operation Choke Point.’”
In the latter part of July, FDIC issued a statement:
“The lists of examples of merchant categories have led to misunderstandings regarding the FDIC’s supervisory approach to institutions’ relationships with [third-party payment processors], resulting in the misperception that the listed examples of merchant categories were prohibited or discouraged. In fact, it is the FDIC’s policy that insured institutions that properly manage customer relationships are neither prohibited nor discouraged from providing services to customers operating in compliance with applicable federal and state law.”
In August, NSSF reported industry businesses, including firearms dealers, were no longer on the FDIC list of “high-risk” companies. NSSF indicates it continues to gather information on those industry companies impacted by “Operation Choke Point.”
Change Those In Charge
This type of anti-gun, anti-industry campaign can be as devastating as any landmark national law, if not more so. They don’t grab national headlines or energize gun owners to create a massive backlash. It’s not likely “Operation Choke Point” ranked very high on the list of call-in topics to legislators at any level. These types of campaigns are devastating because they’re under the radar, yet they can kill or, at the least, cripple businesses quickly.
The president and many of those in his administration create and influence such programs because of their disdain for firearms ownership and the industry. The solution is obvious: change those in charge. That begins in November and continues next year.
In November, vote. It’s the beginning of our “Operation Get-The-Point” campaign.
Thank You For Joining Us
The Shooting Industry Masters was held in July and we at FMG are grateful for the enthusiastic participation and overwhelming support of so many in the industry. Company representatives from every part of the country joined us in Florida for plenty of trigger time and pirate-themed fun at this industry-only event.
We’re also thankful for the unprecedented support we received from so many along Florida’s Treasure Coast, with a smart salute to the Indian River County Shooting Range. In this issue, (pages 28, 29) we provide a quick snapshot of this year’s Masters.
We’ll present a full review of the event in the October issue, including a presentation of our sponsors and those who supported us in so many ways.
Yes, we’re well into our planning for Masters 2015, which will include additional shooting fun. To stay up-to-date on the Masters, visit www.shootingindustry.com/masters.
By Russ Thurman
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