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Banks working with gun grabbers against gun manufacturers

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Banks working with gun grabbers against gun manufacturers

Old 06-25-2018, 09:39 AM
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Default Banks working with gun grabbers against gun manufacturers

SECOND AMENDMENT

Industry: Banks are threat to gun rights

Corporations acting against arms-makers after shootings

LISA MARIE PANE

ASSOCIATED PRESS


GAINESVILLE, Ga. — With Gary Ramey’s fledgling gun-making business taking off in retail stores, he decided to start offering one of his handguns for sale on his website.

That didn’t sit well with the company he used to process payments, and they informed him they

were dropping his account. Another credit card processing firm told him the same thing: They wouldn’t do business with him.

The reason? His business of making firearms violates their policies.

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, which 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.

Guns: Banks up in arms

“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 policymakers and attempt to manage social policy by limiting access to credit,” Crapo wrote to Citigroup’s chief executive.

‘Trying to survive’

Honor Defense is a small operation with a handful of employees that involves Ramey’s son and his wife, who work out of a nondescript building in a Georgia office park north of Atlanta. In 2016, its first year, it sold 7,500 firearms. Its products — handcrafted 9 mm handguns that come in a variety of colors — can now be found in more than 1,000 stores.

When Ramey noticed that neither Stripe nor Intuit would process payments through his site, he submitted a complaint with Georgia’s attorney general’s office, counting on help from a state law that prohibits discrimination by financial service firms against the gun industry. But the state rejected it, saying that credit card processing is not considered a financial service under state law.

He views the credit card issue as companies “infusing politics into business.”

“We’re just a small company trying to survive here,” Ramey said. “It’s hard enough competing with Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Sig Sauer.”

The financial industry actions came amid a broader pushback by corporate America in the aftermath of the Florida shooting. Delta and United Airlines stopped offering discounted fares to NRA members, as did the Hertz, Alamo and National rental car companies. First National Bank of Omaha, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks, decided not to renew a cobranded Visa credit card with the NRA.

Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods both decided they would no longer sell “assault weapons” or firearms to people under age 21. REI, an outdoor-gear shop that doesn’t sell firearms, joined in and decided it would stop selling such items as ski goggles, water bottles and bike helmets made by companies whose parent firm, Vista Outdoor, manufactures ammunition and AR-style long guns.

Response

There’s been electionyear response from some lawmakers, notably in Georgia, where Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running for governor, led a move in the Legislature to kill a tax break on jet fuel to punish Atlantabased Delta over its NRA actions. The move cost the airline an estimated $40 million.

Gun-control advocates have applauded the efforts, saying it demonstrates responsible leadership at a time of paralysis in government. Experts say it’s a sign that the

business world views wading into the gun debate as not at all risky — and, in fact, potentially beneficial to their brand.

“Companies by and large avoid these issues like the plague and they only get involved — whether they’re credit card companies or airlines— when they feel like doing nothing is as bad as doing something and they feel completely stuck,” said Timothy D. Lytton, professor at Georgia State University’s College of Law and author of “Suing the Gun Industry: A Battle at the Crossroads of Gun Control and Mass Torts.”

The gun industry acknowledges that there’s nothing requiring companies to do 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 gun-makers. “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.”

We’re just a small company trying to survive here.

— Gary Ramey,

owner of Honor Defense, a small firearms business



In this April 25 photo, a 9 mm handgun produced by Honor Defense, a gunmaker in Gainesville, Ga., is displayed. 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.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:53 AM
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I just read a similar article about Bank of America refusing to provide financial services to company's that sell "AK-style" weapons. That's fine though. We can choose not to use that bank as well. It works both ways.
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:21 AM
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I dumped the Bank of America in 1970 right after I got married. Within a month they bounced two of our checks for under a hundred bucks when we had several thousand in our checking account. After the 2nd one I went into the bank and told them to give me a check for the amount in our checking account and another for what was in savings and close out both accounts. I took those checks and drove abut two blocks to Bank of PA and opened a checking and saving account and have never had a good word since for that stinking Bank. To recently married people establishing trying credit as a couple and they negligently bounce two of our checks, no excuse for that..
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Old 06-25-2018, 11:45 AM
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I don't use BofA or Citigroup. Wasn't a fan of either before this, still not a fan.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:01 PM
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As to the credit card processing centers, my question is, how do they get around breech of contract rules? Are they not contracted to process payments from customers? I know if my bank wouldn't allow me to use my credit card or debit card to purchase a legal item, I would have a lawsuit against them with many hungry lawyers frothing at the mouth to get the suit. I can see the banks not loaning and though I disagree with it, it is completely within their rights to do so. But payment processors are bound by contractual law and they don't have the right do deny any payments within the legal payments of legal products. At least that is my understanding. Maybe a lawyer here can step in and correct my thought process if I am incorrect.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:14 PM
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Remember, there was a time when banks used to give guns as incentives to use their bank? Hasn't,t been all that long ago either. The land of the free as long as you agree with me.
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:07 AM
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What is next, refusing to honor a check that is written to some company that makes products that they don't like?
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Old 06-26-2018, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by hunters_life View Post
As to the credit card processing centers, my question is, how do they get around breech of contract rules? Are they not contracted to process payments from customers? I know if my bank wouldn't allow me to use my credit card or debit card to purchase a legal item, I would have a lawsuit against them with many hungry lawyers frothing at the mouth to get the suit. I can see the banks not loaning and though I disagree with it, it is completely within their rights to do so. But payment processors are bound by contractual law and they don't have the right do deny any payments within the legal payments of legal products. At least that is my understanding. Maybe a lawyer here can step in and correct my thought process if I am incorrect.
Contracts, particularly service contracts will usually have clauses allowing for changes in the terms of the contract, after proper notice. And this has nothing to do with your credit/debit card use. Banks and other financial institutions process your card transaction for the merchant, deduct a fee, 1% - 4% usually, and put the rest in the merchant's bank account.

But what these banks are doing is not a big deal. There are a lot of financial institutions that will process credit card transactions. I get those offers all the time. One of them will provide, free, a hand held device which will pick up the transaction, run it through an app on my sell phone and put the money in my account the next day.
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