It seems as if the long-running desire to harass gun owners is increasing at an alarming rate. States have engaged in such behaviors, businesses like YETI and Dick’s Sporting Goods have indulged in them, and now, banks and credit card companies are preparing to engage in such behavior.
According tot he Wall Street Journal, a number of banks and credit card companies are discussing ways to identify firearm purchases. Such activity would provide information on how to restrict or deny firearm purchases for customers. Essentially, banks would have the power to place buying “restrictions” on the purchase of a perfectly legal item.
According to insiders, the research is still in its infancy, but it could end up being extremely controversial. It would give financial institutions a method for various banking companies to enforce their own political biases on their customers.
One method discussed by some banking insiders is to identify purchases from firearms with a special code.
Currently, many different industries have various codes for credit card purchases, identifying the type of business and even the actual name and location of the retailer.
For example, a purchase from a restaurant will have a different code than a purchase made from a grocery store, and both will be different than a purchase at a sporting goods store.
Even though this is not necessarily information that will be casually shared with government organizations, such information could act as a de facto gun registry, something that courts and law-abiding gun owners have rightly resisted for decades.
Establishing a new code could also allow banks to outright ban purchases from firearm dealers and other places that legally sell firearms. Even though the purchase is not illegal, the bank could reject the purchase or refuse the transfer of funds.
Another idea discussed by various industry experts involves requiring the dealership to provide a description of the purchase, in the transaction notes.
This could include listing quantities of ammunition and even describing the firearm purchased by a customer.
The bank could then decide who to do business with and could even block transactions based on keywords, such as ‘AR15’ and various derivatives of the phrase.
This is not the first time in recent history that a bank has decided to target gun owners.
Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. both recently put new regulations in place concerning how they do businesses with firearm dealers and those who build and design firearms. The banking groups are also demanding new rules and regulations from the gun makers before they will approve further loans or collaborations.
Of course, not every bank is willing to abandon firearms manufacturers and owners so quickly.
Wells Fargo, a bank so old that it paid for men armed with short-barreled shotguns to defend their cash on stagecoaches, refused to bow to demands from one of the largest teacher’s unions in the country.
The American Federation of Teachers gave the bank an ultimatum. Either the bank would have to cut its relationship to the National Rifle Association and to various gun manufacturers, or the AFT would cut ties with the bank.
The bank chose to stand firm, and the public-sector union found a new bank for its uses.
In fact, this is the first time that banks began to abandon the legal firearm industry, without government harassment.
During the Barack Obama administration, the Department of Justice launched an operation designed to harass firearm dealers, among other businesses.
The operation, nicknamed Operation ‘Choke Point,’ targeted a number of businesses that the DoJ claimed were at higher risk of money laundering.
Realistically, the operation targeted a number of businesses that democrats and leftists don’t like, including the much-maligned payday lending businesses, pawn shops, groups making or distributing ‘racist materials,’ tobacco companies, ammunition and firearm sales and companies, and more.
Operation Choke Point essentially threatened that banks doing business with a number of ‘high-risk’ businesses would face additional scrutiny. Instead, the scheme hurt legitimate businesses and did little to nothing to identify criminal conduct.
When Operation Choke Point began, McMillan firearms began discussion of opening a bank designed particularly around firearm purchases and investment in firearm manufacturers. If pushed too far, this plan for the industry to create its own specialized banking firm could allow the firearm industry to continue operating, and even create a bank that could compete with many better-known banks in the United States.
However, it is disturbing that banks, which invest in all sorts of questionable things, think it is their place to create a de facto registry of gun owners, or think they have the right to tell customers how they can spend their own money.
A bank is supposed to do one thing: transfer money. Not pontificate on politics or morals.
Maybe banks like Citigroup and Bank of America need to be reminded of that fact. A mass exodus of customers, until they change their policies, along with a lack of investment with their banks might be a great way to teach that point.