Monday, June 25, 2018

Privatizing Tyranny

From Greg Smiths newsletter:
On 6/25/2018 9:07 PM, Steven Wenger* wrote:

Still Smoldering on the Financial Front: ...In the wake of high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has been taking a stand against the firearms industry amid a lack of action by lawmakers on gun control. Payment processing firms are limiting transactions, Bank of America stopped providing financing to companies that make AR-style guns, and retailers like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods imposed age restrictions on gun purchases. The moves are lauded by gun-safety advocates but criticized by the gun industry that views them as a backhanded way of undermining the Second Amendment. Gun industry leaders see the backlash as a real threat to their industry and are coming to the conclusion that they need additional protections in Congress to prevent financial retaliation from banks. “If a few banks say ‘No, we’re not going to give loans to gun dealers or gun manufacturers’, all of a sudden the industry is threatened and the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much if there are no guns around,” said Michael Hammond, legal counsel for Gun Owners of America. “If you can’t make guns, if you can’t sell guns, the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much.” The issue has already gotten the attention of the Republican who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho sent letters criticizing Bank of America and Citigroup, which decided to restrict sales of firearms by its business customers, over their new gun rules in the wake of the Florida high school shooting in February. “We should all be concerned if banks like yours seek to replace legislators and policy makers and attempt to manage social policy by limiting access to credit,” Crapo wrote to Citigroup’s chief executive... The gun industry acknowledges that there’s nothing requiring companies from doing business with gun manufacturers or dealers. Monthly reports from the federal government show background checks to purchase a firearm are up over last year so far, so the early actions apparently have not put a dent in sales. Still, the industry believes it needs stronger laws against financial retaliation in the future. “We may have to seek legislation to make sure it can’t be done and that you can’t discriminate against individuals from lawful exercise of a constitutional right,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president and legal counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gunmakers. “Imagine if banks were to say you can’t purchase books or certain books aren’t acceptable. That would be problematic and I don’t think anyone would stand for that kind of activity by the banking industry.” (As I recall, total NICS checks have trended higher but not necessarily those for gun purchases. NICS is also used by many states to check applicants for carry permits.)

It's called privatizing tyranny. No legislature can legally forbid the ownership of firearms although some try very hard. The banking industry however can do as it pleases so if you can't make or sell guns, then the peasants won't have them. In practice this will only drive the prices up which will impact the poor the most. It's almost as though the banks have found a way to bring back the antebellum black codes which were designed to keep guns out of the hands of poor whites and blacks.

IANAL but an industry wide practice to deny basic civil rights to identifiable groups of people sounds to me like the basis for a whopping big RICO suit.

*Corrected the authors name.


Greg Smith said...

Billll, just to be clear, I didn't write this. It was in a forward to the ColoradoRKBA group, and authored by Steven Wenger.

Best Regards,

Billll said...

Sorry. I fixed it.