Get Ready for a Financial Assault on the Second Amendment


#1


Get Ready for a Financial Assault on the Second Amendment
By James Setterlund
January 10, 2019 6:30 AM

California Democrat Maxine Waters is the new chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee. To judge from the party’s past behavior and the various proposals emanating from the left, Waters’s Democrats are going to pressure banks, credit unions, and payment companies to severely curtail and even terminate their relationships with firearm manufacturers, licensed gun retailers, and law-abiding citizens exercising their right to purchase and own firearms. In other words, they will use political pressure to force private institutions into creating social policy that threatens constitutional rights.
In 2013, senior banking officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, with support from the Department of Justice, forced banks to dissolve their relationship with “high-risk” businesses the Obama administration found objectionable or face federal investigations, despite the legality of the businesses. Known as Operation Choke Point, the effort targeted industries including “firearms and ammunition sales, adult entertainment, check cashing, and short-term lending,” according to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Without a complicit administration, Democrats in Congress will likely assume the role of pressuring financial institutions to cease transactions with businesses they deem unsavory, with the firearms community at the top of their list. Senate Democrats have already made this pressure explicit. Last year, Senator Brian Schatz penned a series of nine letters addressed to global payment companies, insisting they play a role in policing firearms and related products their customers are legally eligible to purchase. Seven additional Senate Democrats joined him.
Over the past year, author Andrew Ross Sorkin has written multiple pieces encouraging financial institutions to “control gun sales” if Washington is unable to enact laws. This is not possible under the current system, because payment companies by design do not track specifically what customers purchase. For example, if a customer is checking out at the sporting-goods store Cabela’s, which sells firearms and thousands of other outdoor products, the payment company simply knows the customer shopped there and the total cost of the items. Without specifically monitoring individual items purchased, payment companies are protecting the privacy of their customers and potential regulatory and legal liability. Banks and credit unions operate in a similar manner that prevents them from knowing what their customers purchase.
To address this problem, Sorkin wants credit-card companies to create a new “subcode” specifically to track firearm and ammunition sales. Sorkin believes that these “subcodes” could be enforced through financial institutions’ “best practices” rules, which companies must abide by when doing business with the institution, and which can be changed at the whim of the institution. Ultimately, that could force those in the firearms community to terminate the production or distribution of completely legal firearms and accessories or risk dissolving their relationship with their institution.
Undoubtedly, House Democrats could try to bully payment companies into doing what Sorkin proposes. The question then becomes: If credit-card companies, banks, and/or credit unions start collecting information on gun and ammunition sales, what would they do with that information? How would it be disclosed? Could it be turned over to state and federal financial regulators, or even Congress?
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Proposals like this are nothing more than a backdoor attempt to discriminate against certain consumers. Simply looking at the government’s recent track record of protecting employees’ information demonstrates that it cannot protect against the disclosure of personal information. In 2015, the Office of Personal Management was hacked, exposing the personal information of up to 4 million current and retired federal employees. Last year, the Department of Defense’s Defense Travel System was hacked, exposing the credit-card information of more than 30,000 employees.
In 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system was hacked. The EDGAR system lists the financial filings from publicly listed companies, which possibly allowed the hackers to make money off detailed information before the public had access to the information. It is important to remember that once this information is disclosed, it cannot be clawed back.
As Sorkin points out, some banks opted to create new rules for doing business with licensed firearms retailers, like requiring them to raise the minimum age for long-gun purchases from 18 to 21 and to conduct background checks for all firearms purchases (which all federally licensed gun sellers already did). As private businesses, these institutions retain the right to designate whom they do business with, just as customers can choose which company to bank with. Competition will help fill the void left in the marketplace. For example, CardFellow offers credit-card processing services to gun dealers.
There will also be companies that choose not to discriminate against their customers. Most notably, Wells Fargo was not bullied into discontinuing its relationships with the firearms industry at the demand of the American Federation of Teachers union. Wells CEO Tim Sloan has openly questioned the role that financial institutions should have in creating social policy. Instead he encourage customers “to follow the law, whatever the law might be.” Importantly, Sloan said, “I don’t know if banks or credit-card companies or any other financial institution should be the arbiter of what an American can buy.”
Comments
Sorkin’s corporate social-policy proposals would also run afoul of at least one state’s law. Georgia enacted the Georgia Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits “the discriminatory refusal to provide credit or financial services to those persons engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms or ammunition products.”
Operation Choke Point and Sorkin’s proposals foreshadow the path that Democrats will take this term. Congress should not be pressuring financial institutions into policing the legal purchases of their customers.
James Setterlund — James Setterlund is a federal-affairs manager at Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit group dedicated to lower taxes and limited government


#2

I say we boycott any financial Institutions that try to infringe the second amendment.


#3

Absolutely.


#4

When the ACLU tells the democrats that they are turning into tyrants, the democrats really should listen to the ACLU, instead of trying to figure out what else they can do with their new tyranny tool.


#5

Pay cuomo back.
Write scathing reviews of EVERYTHING NY. Yelp, Trip Advisor, They lie about us - pay the AH’s back.
Kill their business- kill their tax income.

I used to spend $1000’s a year in NYC easily, shows concerts dinners etc…
Now not one cent.


#6

Does anybody have a current list of anti-gun banks? I have seen a few lists floating around the interweb, but nothing that appears to be recent. NRA-ILA had a list for a while, but the old link is dead.


#7

#8
Summary

Firearm Manufacturer & Seller Gun Safety Codes of Conduct:
An Opportunity for Financial Institutions
At a time when all Americans are asking what they can do to reduce gun violence, financial
institutions doing business with the sellers and makers of firearms have an opportunity to
promote a culture of safety that is consistent with their existing business practices. Similar to
current “know your customer” requirements, financial institutions wishing to lend their support
to the growing gun violence prevention movement can require codes of conduct of their
firearm industry customers – whether gun dealers or manufacturers – to ensure those
customers are engaged in practices that improve public safety.
Below we offer suggested principles that can be incorporated into dealer and manufacturer
codes of conduct, along with examples of specific policies and procedures that would help
firearm industry customers to reduce gun violence.
Gun Dealer Principles:
Lenders, banks, credit card companies, and payment processors have the ability to require their
gun dealer clients to engage in business practices that put public safety first and that they take
reasonable steps to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.
• Prevent Sales to Prohibited Individuals & Other Suspect Transactions
• Detect & Prevent Straw Purchasing
• Prevent Theft
• Reduce Lethality of Shootings
• Hire and Train Responsible Employees
• Assist Law Enforcement
• Promote Public Safety & Maintain Public Accountability
Gun Manufacturer Principles:
Financial institutions that engage in business with gun manufacturers similarly have an
opportunity to ensure their clients are not unnecessarily fueling gun violence, that they are
taking affirmative steps to improve gun safety, and that they use their business leverage to
promote responsible dealer conduct. These institutions could insist manufacturers commit to:
• Sell Only to Responsible Dealers and Distributors
• Develop Safer Guns
• Reduce Gun Trafficking & Help Law Enforcement Solve Crimes
• Engage in Public Education
• Reduce Lethality of Shootings
The below codes of conduct set forth examples of policies that both dealers and manufacturers
can implement to effectuate the above principles. These examples are neither exhaustive nor
“all-or-nothing.” But for those financial institutions concerned with the problem of gun violence
in America, these codes of conduct offer simple, practical options they can adopt within their
existing compliance framework to do their part in making the country safer.
Proposed Code of Conduct Policies for Licensed Gun Dealers
Prevent Sales to Prohibited Individuals & Other Suspect Transactions
For example:
• Do not sell firearms until a background check is complete and the purchaser
approved, even if the three-day, statutory “default proceed” period has passed
• Do not sell firearms or ammunition to individuals who appear intoxicated or under
the influence of drugs, or emotionally disturbed or unstable
• Do not sell firearms or ammunition when dealer is aware of information suggesting
the purchaser may pose a danger to himself/herself or others
• Do not sell at gun shows unless the gun show requires all sellers to conduct
background checks on prospective purchasers
• Offer background checks for unlicensed dealers engaged in private gun sales
• Do not sell firearms and ammunition outside of reasonable business hours
Detect & Prevent Straw Purchasing
For example:
• Observe purchasers and ask questions to determine whether they are purchasing for
someone else
• Prohibit employees from assisting customers in completing forms or answering
questions related to the transaction
• Use surveillance video to record all firearms transactions
• Deny sales to suspicious individuals and report to law enforcement (e.g., when one
individual selects a firearm while another completes the purchase)
Prevent Theft
For example:
• Store firearms safely, either in locked containers or with a locking device such as a
rod or cable
• Use adequate locks, lighting, surveillance cameras and alarm systems
• Create and maintain an electronic record of the make, model, caliber or gauge, and
serial number of all firearms in inventory and perform periodic inventory checks
Reduce Lethality of Shootings
For example:
• Discontinue sale of detachable and fixed ammunition magazines with a capacity of
more than 10 rounds (“High Capacity Magazines”)
• Discontinue sale of bump stocks and other conversion devices that enable
semiautomatic guns to approximate automatic fire
Hire and Train Responsible Employees
For example:
• Conduct background checks on all potential employees before hiring
• Maintain record of which employees effectuate which sales; review record against
ATF trace requests
• Limit access to firearms and ammunition to those employees who are approved and
trained to sell them
• Terminate any employee who assists in a straw purchase or other illegal transaction
• Require all employees selling firearms to receive training that covers compliance
with this Code of Conduct
Assist Law Enforcement
For example:
• Immediately notify law enforcement:
o of suspected attempted straw purchasers
o when an employee is suspected of involvement in a straw purchasing
transaction or theft
o when an individual fails a background check
o when the dealer refuses to sell a firearm or ammunition to a purchaser for
any other reason
o of any firearm theft or loss
o of any individual who attempts to purchase a firearm or ammunition after
having previously purchased a firearm that was traced to a crime
• Create and maintain an electronic record of the purchaser of each firearm
• Maintain and preserve surveillance video of all firearm sales
Promote Public Safety & Maintain Public Accountability
For example:
• Do not sell firearms or ammunition to individuals under 21 years of age
• Post visible signs and provide handouts reminding purchasers:
o to safely store firearms, including when left in automobiles
o to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement
o that straw purchasing is illegal
o of the risks associated with firearm ownership
o of the importance and availability of practical training courses
• Prepare an annual public report covering:
o safety practices
o the number of ATF violations in the year
o the total number of crime guns traced to the store in the year
Proposed Code of Conduct Policies for Firearms Manufacturers
Sell Only to Responsible Dealers and Distributors
For example:
• Require Dealers/Distributors to Agree to a Gun Safety Code of Conduct (see above)
• Suspend contracts with distributors/dealers that violate the Code of Conduct
Develop Safer Guns
For example:
• Commit to developing/prototyping handguns or semi-automatic rifles with
o authorized-use technology
o load indicators and magazine disconnectors
o child-proof trigger-resistance/firing mechanism specifications
o drop-proof trigger-resistance/firing mechanism specifications
Reduce Gun Trafficking & Help Law Enforcement Solve Crimes
For example:
• Commit to equipping/manufacturing all handguns and semi-automatic rifles with
o microstamping or similar ballistics technology that can assist law
enforcement in efforts to trace crime guns
o tamper-proof serial numbers / serial number identifiers that are visible only
with the aid of an infrared detector or other device
o tracking sensors to allow the authorized user to find the location of a firearm,
like the “find my phone” feature on many smartphones
• Coordinate with federal law enforcement to track and compare dealer performance,
and identify dealers with high rates of crime guns or poor audit records
• Discontinue or suspend sales to Dealers/Distributors that sell a disproportionate
number of firearms that are traced to crime scenes within three years after sale
Engage in Public Education
For example:
• Dedicate funds to advertising and social media campaigns that inform the public
about:
o the need for safe storage and the risks associated with child firearm access
o the importance of reporting lost or stolen guns to law enforcement
o the utility of participating in hands-on training before purchasing a firearm
o the dangers and penalties associated with straw purchasing
o access to mental health services for gun owners in distress, as well as
temporary relinquishment options and applicable red flag laws
Reduce Lethality of Shootings
For example:
• Commit to cease manufacturing for retail sale
o semi-automatic firearms that can accept High Capacity Magazines
o semi-automatic rifles that are capable of firing centerfire ammunition
o High Capacity Magazines


#9

Almost all of them