Operation Choke Point: Evidence Mounts of Government Policy to Hurt Gun Industry

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By Paul Martin

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Charlotte, NC –(Ammoland.com)- Earlier this month, we reported on concerns being raised by the activities of federal banking regulators under the umbrella of Operation Choke Point.

Many have claimed the regulators are using their ratings and enforcement authorities to intimidate banks into refusing or severing business relationships with lawful, though politically-disfavored, industries, including those involved with firearms and ammunition.

As we noted in our report, we are aware of situations in which banks have refused or severed relationships with customers in the firearm industry, but the reasons underlying these decisions were often disputed (with the banks claiming one thing and the customer another). At the time of that report, we were unaware of a “smoking gun” to tie these decisions back to pressure from regulatory authorities.

That may be changing. The Washington Times has been running a series on the controversy, and a recent piece explained that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), an independent federal entity that ensures bank deposits, has for the last several years been urging banks to take a more active role in policing the activities of the banks’ customers. As part of this effort, the FDIC published a list of merchants engaged in so-called “high risk” activities that it claimed should be of concern to banks. That list is still available on the FDIC’s website. Moreover, NRA has received a copy of a PowerPoint presentation from an Examiner Education workshop conducted by officials from the FDIC, Department of Justice, and Office of Comptroller of the Treasury that also lists “Ammunition Sales” and “Firearms/Fireworks Sales” as “High Risk Merchants/Activities.” One of the presenters verified the authenticity of that document.

A number of questions remain, however. First is why firearm and ammunition sales, already among the nation’s most heavily-regulated and scrutinized consumer activity, would be considered a financial risk to banks or consumers, especially considering the robust economic activity in that sector over the last several years.

Evidence of pervasive consumer fraud or bank failures attributable to firearm-related businesses is non-existent.

The Rest…HERE

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