By Larry Keane

Bank of America, it turns out, is selling out their customers who bought guns or ammunition to federal authorities as people who should be investigated for ties to the criminal acts witnessed on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.

Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, uncovered evidence that Bank of America is turning over the private transaction records of its customers to federal investigators it believes need to be probed for “extremism” or even domestic terrorism. The chilling move by the second-largest corporate bank in America with more than 60 million customers and $2.16 trillion in assets was this:

  1. Customers confirmed as transacting, either through bank account debit card or credit card purchases in Washington, D.C. between 1/5 and 1/6.
  2. Purchases made for Hotel/Airbnb RSVPs in DC, VA, and MD after 1/6.
  3. Any purchase of weapons or at a weapons-related merchant between 1/7 and their upcoming suspected stay in D.C. area around Inauguration Day.
  4. Airline related purchases since 1/6.

Did you notice No. 3? Bank of America is vocally antigun, but this is crossing into secret lists, big brother, sci-fi truth-is-stranger-than-fiction territory. The bank’s criteria included any purchase at a gun store, but not just guns. If someone bought a t-shirt, baseball hat or even a trigger lock, that flagged their account for “review.”

Who Told Who?

Carlson reported that Bank of America identified 211 people and turned that information over to investigators without notifying those customers that their private financial transaction data was being shared without their consent. Federal authorities interviewed at least one person, and that individual was cleared of any wrongdoing.

big brother surveillance social credit gun control
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Bank of America dodged Carlson when confronted with the allegations it was singling out customers who made a purchase at a gun store. They said, “We don’t comment on our communications with law enforcement. All banks have responsibilities under federal law to cooperate with law enforcement inquiries in full compliance with the law.”

However, “compliance with the law” here is questionable at best. Bank of America didn’t say that the FBI subpoenaed the information. They only said they “cooperated.” Carlson pointed out that banks are allowed under 12 U.S.C. 3403 to provide information that “may be relevant to a possible violation of any statute or regulation.”

In Bank of America’s estimation, visiting a gun store and buying any product, much less a firearm which is protected by the Second Amendment, is suspicious enough to put their customers on a secret watch list without their knowledge.

The New York Post interviewed New York City’s former top cop who blasted the decision to hand over private financial data.

“That’s just not a good reason to hand over private information. If that’s the way they do business now, then the people of this country really have something to worry about,” said Bernard Kerik, a security consultant who headed the NYPD in 2000 and 2001.

Another former law enforcement official called the move “a fishing expedition.”

In a follow-up, Fox News’ Mark Steyn interviewed former federal prosecutor Francey Hakes, who noted Bank of America’s response was peculiarly-absent of any mention of “search warrants, court orders or subpoenas….” Hakes noted that the Fourth Amendment protects against searches that aren’t “particularized” or when a judge signs off an order to search the records of a specific individual based on evidence.

“Financial information is highly private in this country and is given heightened protections,” she added.

Telegraphed Move

So far, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo haven’t responded if they’ve conducted similar internal search efforts of customer information. Yet, this follows an antigun animus by Bank of America. In 2018, Bank of America announced they would end financial relationships with manufacturers of modern sporting rifles, which they erroneously called “military-style rifle.” The move followed a similar announcement by Citigroup.

Delving into private transactions and using big banks to approve of purchases isn’t a new idea. In fact, this is the fulfillment of New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin’s call for such action and who proposed the notion in 2017 and 2018. It was later parroted by Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke as a potential gun control program.

It also shouldn’t be surprising that big banks with antigun agendas are emboldened to violate their customers’ privacy, turn them out and label them as “extremists” and “domestic terrorists.” The Biden administration yanked the publication of the “Fair Access” banking rule by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

That gave banks the green light to continue to openly discriminate against firearm-related businesses, which is just a privatization with a wink-and-nod to continue the illegal Operation Choke Point that was begun under the Obama administration.

It can no longer accurately be called the Bank of America. Instead, it is a gun control cabal working to undermine American freedoms, label gun owners as criminals and use their customers’ own money and information as the tools to get it done. Welcome to the Bank of Gun Control America.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

55 COMMENTS

  1. How many other banks were asked these same questions? Did any other banks supply info? Maybe this is something we should all look into. The credit union I deal with would not do this, I know who runs it.

  2. Threatened of losing their economic life, what do you expect banks to do? Even if the threat is illegal? They are not going to symbolically die for your constitutionally-protected rights. Does anyone truly believe that financial institutions will commit corporate suicide, anger stockholders and go out of business because their chartering agents are doing something “illegal”?

    If we want a rabid, pure constitutionalist bank, we are going to have to build it (some credit unions might fit the bill).

    • A corporation as big as the Bank of America isn’t very threatenable that way. They absorb fines reaching the billion-dollar level as a simple business expense.

      Even if it were possible, threatening the existence of such a financial behemoth would be cutting off their nose to spite their face, and the totalitarian “progressive” Democrats know it.
      The Bank of America absolutely COULD thumb their nose at this kind of request from a government that overstepped its bounds…if they wanted to. But they’re amenable. Converged.

      Existential threats are something they pose to *other* people (for instance, any constitutional/free-market alternative).

      • “A corporation as big as the Bank of America isn’t very threatenable that way. ”

        To begin, BOA is not the guardian of your rights. Secondly, the bank corporation doesn’t want to be your guardian. Next, the government can make life miserable for any corporation they choose. Following, no bank officer is authorized to operate illegally, and defying the feds can open bank officers to personal liability, even criminal liability. No bank want the publicity of refusing to cooperate with government in ferreting out “bad guys”. Refusing to “cooperate” with LE can bring great heat from major stockholders (who themselves do not want to be crosswise with government). Simply put, there is no bottom line advantage, gain, profit to declaring “will not comply”. Ardent 2A defenders are not considered enough of a constituency to really matter to the future of the bank/corporation.

        • It’s true that they aren’t the guardian of our rights, but neither are they free to violate those rights whether on their own initiative or at someone else’s impetus.

          I base that argument on the Declaration of Independence.

          We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

          Who is the government supposed to be protecting our Rights from? Only the government? If that was the case, then there is no need for a government. No, these Rights are to be protected from violation by other actors such a private individuals, private groups, and even other nations.

          IMNSHO, if a Right is enumerated in the Bill of Rights, it is because individuals posses that Right. While the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to tell government that it cannot violate those Rights, they are still an identified Right which No One has the right to violate.

          That would include rummaging through our private possessions and papers to share with anyone else, including the government.

        • “Following, no bank officer is authorized to operate illegally, and defying the feds can open bank officers to personal liability, even criminal liability.”

          You mean like violating their customers’ banking privacy by handing over information without a warrant? What they did, if there was no warrant or subpoena, is most likely illegal.

  3. I said “goodbye” to all the big banks decades ago. Unfortunately, there are almost no smaller banks to turn to today. One after another, the smaller banks have been consolidated and/or bought up by the big banks. It’s a damned shame when every dollar in America is controlled by one of a small number of banks.

  4. 2 months ago I purchased a new Kimber and 4 additional newly released extra rounds magazines, l plunked down about thousand bucks in cash, my brother was with me and couldn’t understand why at the time I only wanted to use cash…..

    • Well, there was this time when we walked up and hassled an innocent BOA teller who certainly didn’t deserve it, because…well…

      …you’re so much better at telling stories, so I’ll hand it off to you to explain to your fans why you think my wife and I are such horrible people.

  5. If there were only 211 people on that list, it was an “and” operation, not “or.” That’s a highly granular result, considering how many people could’ve been doing any one of the things on that list.

    So they’re not putting massive amounts of people on secret government lists. Yet. But clearly, millions of us are being considered for the honor.

    Every day it becomes more evident — if it wasn’t clear already — that we’re living in the dystopia we were warned about, and the Democratic Party is the enemy within (although, to be fair, Republicans aren’t helping us any).

  6. Tucker Carlson is a spineless loser. Every other show has apologizing for the mistakes he’s made the previous show. If he is your standard for journalist excellence you are sadder than him.

    • I don’t follow any particular pundit very closely, so I wouldn’t know about spineless. But if he actually admits to making mistakes and corrects them, he’s miles ahead of everybody else in that sorry excuse for a profession.

  7. Well I’m sure BoA knows what their doing for the benefit of its customers.
    Whatever the United States of Americas leaders decide is best for its citizens.
    Support Your Local Law Enforcement
    God bless America

  8. Cash is and always will be king.

    Have to love the forms you need to fill out if you take a large sum if cash out if your account too.

    Patriot Act is not Patriotic.

  9. $2.16T? Ironic.

    If 40% of Americans decided to basically withdraw their consent for the current scheme of things and do *illegal* business in person, and did 30% of their business this way, it would move $2.16T into the “black market” and undercut the State apparatus significantly.

  10. Meanwhile, Chase has cancelled the payment service account of Covfefe Coffee Company, a pro-Trump business, reversed payments processed, and frozen the bank account to prevent any withdrawals, for Covfefe allegedly violating its terms of service. Of course this came without warning, and without explanation as to what conduct constituted a violation. If it hasn’t happened to Black Rifle Coffee Company yet, it surely will soon enough. This has cancel culture written all over it, and it really should be illegal or a recognizable business tort.

  11. RugerFirst Said: “Tucker Carlson is a spineless loser.”

    Spineless is people insulting public Truth-Talkers while they themselves live in the hidden world of aliases and avatars.

    Do you even know what a Ruger is?

  12. FormerParatrooper said:
    “Have to love the forms you need to fill out if you take a large sum if cash out of your account too.”

    I get 200-300 bucks out at a time every few days until I have enough for gun related stuff.

    PS: You know, the money is for my flea market business …. 🙂

    • Pssst…don’t tell anyone but we’ve had an antique/decorative busuness for over a quarter century. Mostly cash but you need a few charges as a cover😏😏😏😏😏

    • I keep it under the paperwork level now. One time to fill out the forms was enough for me.

      I see a downturn in the value of paper coming. Gold, silver and lead will always retain value. I am always looking for something worth value for trade later down the line.

  13. If there is evidence of illegal activity, sedition, insurrection, terrorism, etc, then the Federal authorities should be presenting that in court to obtain search warrants. That is the law. It is what pissed me off what that idiot in charge of Apple told the FBI to go pound sand when served with a search warrant to crack a DEAD TORRORIST’s iphone!

    It is real simple, obey the law. Hell yes go after the thugs that invaded the Capitol but OBEY THE DAMNED LAW IN DOING SO!!!

    A corporation simply handing over data without a court order, without Due Process of Law, is an Anti-American Act, pure and simple!

  14. This new format again? You’d think TTAG would have learned that this new format is, by a wide margin, unpopular to say the least. Not very organized, not user friendly, not mobile friendly, and an overall eyesore. Not to mention the very annoying subscription tab at every page change.

    • Yeah that pop up is really annoying! Maybe Dan is afraid that the ban hammer is soon to fall. Though if it does, getting regular e-mails won’t do anything for a dead forum for discussion. Might be hard to monetize too.

  15. “I left banks years ago and found that the right credit union is a breath of fresh air compared to these banks.”

    There are definitely some (that is “some”) advantages to credit unions over banks. However…..should you expect your credit union to protect your constitutionally-protected rights, either? As with banks, the large majority of credit union members are not going to risk the credit union in some sort of defiance of federal LE. There may be 100million gun owners (or even more), but there are not 100million POTG.

  16. “You’d think TTAG would have learned that this new format is, by a wide margin, unpopular to say the least”

    Well, TTAG isn’t Dan Z; it is the actual owners. IRRC, the justification for the change was to modernize the “look and feel” of the experience. Lacking an overwhelming push from the readership to instigate the changes, one wonders about the real motivation. If a website/forum is making money, why change the money-maker? Anyone wanna venture a guess? (yours is as good as mine) The real “customers” of/for TTAG is/are not the readers.

    • I have a dickens of a time finding a thread I was following yesterday. Is that supposedly a good thing? Having the post you are responding to visible while responding is nice, but nowhere near worth all the PITA otherwise. I predict failure.

  17. People who bought Ammo, are firearms is none of the banks business, how people spend their money as long as legal NOT bank America or any other bank’s, bank of America has violated the privacy act, and should be punished for doing so, right alone with any and all participants involved, each and every person that has been effective by this invaded act of privacy,bank of America is responsible for their criminal behaviour, lawsuits are in order, the people needs justice to be served.

    • Which privacy act is that? Are you a lawyer? What they did *should* be against the law, but the laws aren’t written by or for ordinary people and no doubt contain ample weasel language and loopholes to allow the elite to get away with whatever they want.

  18. This covers gun and gun related stores because they don’t get your itemized receipt — just how much to pay and to whom. If you spend $100 at Cabela’s, they don’t know whether I bought 20 pounds of fudge or 50 rounds of .22 ammo. I wonder if they consider Wal-Mart to be gun related. They could narrow it down if they know which stores sell guns and ammo.
    Anybody who still uses a bank that happily participated in Chokepoint and screwed over gun companies after Sandy Hook, MSD High, and Gilroy/El Paso isn’t paying attention. I have little sympathy for someone who keeps letting others slam their genitals in a door.

  19. You can thank the un-Patriot Act of 2001 that made it easier to infringe on our rights and privacy under the guise of Homeland Security. the NSA is collecting, analyzing, and filing ALL the 1’s & 0’s for posterity the moment you hit ‘send’ on ANY device.

    Folks are naïve of you think the government data collection agencies dont have a master-key to access any/all private data from citizens, banks, hospitals, corporations even to see what dirty movies you order on cable tv. Unless the system is air-gapped from the web they are already in it.

  20. I cancelled my Bank of America account several years ago when they instituted their anti-gun policies. I discourage anyone I know from dealing with this bank. Bank of America is a disgrace to the memory and principles of its founder, Amadeo Giannini. For those readers who wish, I suggest researching his life and contributions to California and the U.S.

    • Umm… Did you read beyond where I posed that question?

      If your answer is correct, then why bother having a government?

      I know you like to play Devil’s Advocate sometimes to make sure our arguments are better, but c’mon.

  21. “What they did, if there was no warrant or subpoena, is most likely illegal.”

    One would like to think so, but the terms of service are crucial. If a company states they will cooperate with law enforcement, without detailing specifically what that means, then responding to a phone inquiry to release your activity could be well within the law.

  22. In an age where ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions are slavishly willing to function as a surveillance apparatus for the federal government, the credit union is king.

  23. “Umm… Did you read beyond that question?”

    Yes, I did. The question was who was responsible for securing the rights of the “we the people”. The founders created the central/federal government for the purpose of being the instrument to ensure the rights of the people would be safeguarded from that very government; the federal government. The founders did not establish the federal government to protect the individual states from the state governments. The founders left no record of the intention of the federal government to intervene, interfere with, or manipulate private businesses….except as specifically and solely delegated in the Constitution. While charging the federal government to act in a manner the States could not individually achieve (national defense, uniform commerce between the states, a national navy and army to protect the States from foreign states and empires). However, the founders were well aware of the danger of government overreach to enrich and empower itself. Hence, the division of federal power in protecting the States against government tyranny.

    The founders were not ignorant of the coercive power that private corporations/businesses could amass and misuse, but nothing in the constitution delegates the federal government power to control corporations. That was left to the States and local governments. Remember, the men who wrote the Constitution were not living in a vacuum. They were political and business leaders within the individual States.

    The founders established a government designed to protect the rights of the people, while at the same time recognizing the danger inherent in any centralization of power in the hands of a ruling class. That tension was obvious, and the reason Franklin stated, “A republic, if you can keep it.” And the reason Adams declared, “”Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    So, regardless of anything written in the subject comment following the question of who the government is protecting the citizens from, the answer remains: government. This is not playing devil’s advocate, but a straight up answer to a straight up question.

  24. I wonder as to the following. Are the bank’s actions/antics a violation of civil or criminal law in some way or other? Otherwise people, given the attitude of B of A, is there the slightest reason for doing business with them? Do they offer anything worth having, desired or needed not available elsewhere? Answer that question for yourselves,but think on it first. By the way, might that rumbling sound heard turn out to be Mr. Giannini, the founder of B of A turning over in his grave?

  25. Thank you, TTAG Contributor, for putting together everything in Bank of America Sells Out Gun Owners. I think you have covered all the major points in this article, I will share this with my network as well.

  26. Well boys and girls, If Boa is your only prob wake up all your money is elactronic fake money, is your way to live baa sheep reap what you sow

  27. BOA had a bankcard with the NRA…. the NRA finally dropped them for PennFed….. I responded to BOA b4 the NRA when BOA dropped retail, distribution, & mfrs who were related, even remotely, with firearms from their association and/or financial systems….. recently, the “MYPILLOW” guy has been dropped by numerous retailers….. not just a few… and Conservatives yawned as “Never Trumpers” manned the phones to punish Conservatives — Again– and Again. Wake up, Amerika…. B4 we are soon calling each other “Comrade” and “Seiging Heil” to the Democratic Socialists of Amerika!!

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