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"Operation Choke Point" Raises Alarms

Friday, May 2, 2014

For the last several days, rumors have been circulating about the use of federal financial services regulators to harass and intimidate banks and financial service providers who maintain relationships with legal but so-called "high risk" merchants or businesses.   These businesses are said to include, among others, payday lenders, escort services, producers of pornography, gaming interests, and purveyors of drug paraphernalia.  By leaning on the banks, so the theory goes, the regulators will cause them to sever relationships with these businesses, thereby choking off their cash flow and forcing them out of the market.  While the early phase of the operation has reportedly focused on payday lenders and pornography interests, eventual targets are said to include sellers of firearms and ammunition.

We have been aware of this story for some time.  NRA News, for example, originally reported on it last January.  Breitbart news also noted in January that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the Economic Growth Subcommittee, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding further information on the program.  In a follow up story on NRA News in April, Andrew Langer from the Institute for Liberty reiterated the allegations and reported that the program is expanding.  The House Committee on Financial Services additionally held a hearing on April 8 entitled, "Who's in Your Wallet: Examining How Washington Red Tape Impairs Economic Freedom," at which concerns over Operation Choke Point were expressed by both sides of the aisle. 

In addition to these concerns, NRA is aware of episodes in which banks have severed their relationships with customers in the firearm industry, as well as the policies of various online services – such as Google Shopping, eBay, Craigslist, and PayPal--to refuse to host listings for, or process sales of, firearms or ammunition.

We know as well that various anti-gun groups have taken their cause to the private sector with varying degrees of success.  Indeed, as we have reported, this is a niche that is actively being pursued by Michael Bloomberg's recently-acquired (and ponderously named) anti-gun franchise, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. In March, NRA successfully defeated a Bloomberg-backed effort to remove firearm-related content from Facebook.  Meanwhile, anti-gun mayors have floated plans to use city contracts to impose their gun control wishes, usually with instant pushback from their own police forces. Some public pension plans have also begun divesting themselves of publicly-traded companies related to firearm or ammunition.

Gun control proponents, having achieved only limited success in the legislative arena, have without question sought additional avenues for restrictions through the business community.  While all of these developments deserve close attention, we have not substantiated that they are part of an overarching federal conspiracy to suppress lawful commerce in firearms and ammunition, or that the federal government has an official policy of using financial regulators to drive firearm or ammunition companies out of business. This in no way diminishes, however, the real and continuing threats gun owners face from  politically unaccountable federal bureaucrats – whose actions we have recently reported on here, here, and here – or the need for consumers to be aware that their own behavior and spending habits can influence decisions businesses make about firearms.

Rest assured, NRA will continue to monitor developments concerning Operation Choke Point and report on any significant activity of concern to gun owners.  The Obama administration's record--which includes the Fast & Furious scandal, a federal firearm registration scheme, and a reversal of U.S. policy leading to the signing an international gun control treaty – certainly provides no reason for confidence.  Yet whatever the administration might have in store for the future, the firearm industry for now is experiencing robust sales and growth, a reflection of America's rejection of the gun ban agenda.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

On November 18, the European Commission expedited a plan to overhaul the European Union’s already restrictive gun control laws. The ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.


Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.