After high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has taken a stand against the firearms industry, the Associated Press reports. 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 of 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 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 after the Florida high school shooting in February. Honor Defense is a small operation near Atlanta. In 2016, its first year, it sold 7,500 firearms. When owner Gary Ramey noticed that neither Stripe nor Intuit would process payments through his site, he complained to the Georgia attorney general, counting on a state law that prohibits discrimination by financial service firms against the gun industry. The state aid credit-card processing is not considered a financial service under state law. Ramey views the credit card issue as companies “infusing politics into business.”