Press release from Rep. Richard Hudson:
U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and sponsor of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, is leading the effort to call on the Trump administration and Federal Reserve to prevent financial discrimination against industries including firearms and ammunition amid the economic recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Hudson was joined by 98 Members of Congress on a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Federal Reserve System Chairman Jerome Powell, and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza urging further guidance to clarify eligibility and prevent financial discrimination of industries including firearms and ammunition, oil and gas, coal and private corrections.
The Members wrote:
“As you may be aware, several of the nation’s systemically important financial institutions (SIFI) continue to use their market dominance to financially discriminate against legal and compliant businesses for political reasons. This includes, but is not limited to, the firearms and ammunition, oil and gas, coal, and private corrections industries.
“We find it extremely disconcerting that, while these businesses are clearly eligible for participation in the CARES Act programs, many of the nation’s largest institutions will block their participation based on their own political agendas which could result in the loss of jobs for thousands of hard working Americans.
“With these concerns in mind, we ask the Administration to take additional steps to clarify the eligibility of these industries and urge further guidance that will prevent the unlawful discrimination by financial institutions.”
Read the entire letter here.
Financial discrimination of the firearms industry began with an Obama-era policy called “Operation Choke Point” during which banks were found to be targeting the firearms industry under the guise of preventing crime. Since then, there has been a disturbing trend of some of the nation’s largest financial institutions bowing to political pressure from activist shareholders to implement internal policies that discriminate against lawful businesses. These policies have included attempts to insert unilateral gun control measures by denying firearms manufacturers access to critical capital.
Lawrence Keane, Senior VP and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, issued a statement about the history of this issue and commended the letter:
“Certain banks, after having received ‘too big to fail’ bailout funds a decade ago, have adopted social policies refusing to provide banking services to federally licensed businesses engaged in lawful commerce in arms. These same banking institutions have now been entrusted by Congress to disburse taxpayer funds through the Paycheck Protection Program. Our industry appreciates Congressman Hudson‘s leadership in writing, along with nearly 100 of his House colleagues, to demand assurances that these taxpayer funds will be disbursed in a fair and non-discriminatory manner to members of our industry.”