Governor Mark Gordon
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (AP Photo/Mead Gruver)

One of the first things the BidenHarris administration did after taking power in January was to kill the previous administration’s effort to prevent financial institutions from discriminating against certain lawful business segments…namely firearms manufacturers, retailers and others in the business.

Back when old Joe was just a young Veep, the Obama administration had instituted Operation Choke Point to pressure lenders, credit card processors and others in the financial services business to cut off their gun industry customers. After Trump took office, that ended, but the discrimination continued. Firms like Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Intuit, Square and others privatized the Obama administration’s anti-gun efforts, refusing to do business with some manufacturers, retailers and related firms.

As his administration was winding down, Trump directed the OCC, which regulates national and federally chartered savings banks, to draft a rule prohibiting these discriminatory business practices. That should have been done much earlier in his administration, rather than as an afterthought. By doing it while he was a lame duck, it was probably intended as a poison pill for the incoming Democrat administration.

By almost immediately stopping that rulemaking process once he took office, President BidenHarris let it be known to all who were paying attention that he’s a big fan of the privatized version of Operation Choke Point.

The BidenHarris action provoked the introduction of a bill in Congress to ban that kind of activity. Senators Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and John Kennedy of Louisiana introduced S821, the Freedom Financing Act, but that bill is a dead letter. Chuck Schumer would sooner French kiss Nancy Pelosi than allow the bill to reach the Senate floor for a vote (assuming it wasn’t filibustered by Democrats) and it wouldn’t even get a sniff in the House.

So the real action in terms of addressing the problem of anti-gun financial discrimination has moved to the states. A number of bills have been introduced in states like Arizona, Kentucky and others to outlaw financial discrimination against firearm-related businesses. And yesterday, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed just such a bill into law.

From wyomingnews.com . . .

The bill prohibits financial institutions and payment processors in Wyoming from discriminating against firearms businesses that support or are “engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition products.”

The Governor signed this bill to reinforce his overarching belief in protecting Second Amendment rights in the face of recent Executive Actions by President Biden, according to a press release.

From the bill’s language . . .

A financial institution shall not discriminate against a firearm entity because the firearm entity supports or is engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition products.

And the bill provides remedies for anyone harmed by such discrimination.

A person who is injured by a violation of this article may bring a civil action against the financial institution. A court of competent jurisdiction shall award the successful party reasonable attorney fees and costs. The court may award the successful party any of the following:

(i)  Actual and compensatory damages;

(ii)  Treble damages;

(iii)  Punitive or exemplary damages;

(iv)  Injunctive relief;

(v)  Any other appropriate civil relief.

The attorney general can also propose that the governor ban any financial institution found guilty of discrimination from doing business with the state.

More of these bills should be signed into law as they progress through the various state legislatures. Since the feds now have zero interest in preventing this kind of discrimination, it’s the only way to apply any pressure at all on anti-gun banks and other service providers.

38 COMMENTS

  1. Good gesture. Does the law apply to financial institutions headquartered/primarily operating in other states?

    • It appears to apply to transactions within the borders of Wyoming, no matter where the clearing institution is HQ’d.

      • Yup, Wyoming only.

        While that’s very nice and all, how many banks are chartered (if that’s the correct term here) in Wyoming?

        For real effectiveness, that law needs to be in a state like Delaware.

        Anyways, back to Wyoming- How about getting some billionaires together and found a bank in the great state of Wyoming?

  2. Not only are sneaky Gun Control Zealots involved in getting gun rights they are behind most of the demoCrap that stinks up America. I.E…You’ve got to be a deranged pos to tell others what they can possess to defend their lives. You’ve got to be a deranged pos to steal an election. You’ve got to be a deranged pos to stop a vital pipeline and trash 100,000 related jobs. You’ve got to be a lowlife to open the border to bring in votes. To do all of that you’ve got to be a self serving deranged democRat like Jim Crow Gun Control joe biden.

    • Debbie W.

      I don’t know if you’re from TX and if you’re well informed about the border crisis, but I am.

      Thanks for mentioning it your above post.

      I’m in Spring, TX just north of Houston. The crime rate near the border has completely exploded and it’s being felt here too, many, many miles from the border.

      I’m as empathetic as anyone towards those poor kids. But order and the control of crime are also one of my priorities…AS I HAVE TO LIVE HERE AND PROTECT MY OWN FAMILY.

      It would completely astonish me if in the mid-terms the Texas Republican representatives and Senators don’t get re-elected against any Democrat opponent.

      If that happens across the entire border states then things may get back to normal to some degree.

  3. I’ll look forward to the Libertarians saying this law is wrong. And that the governor should never have signed it.

    I’m glad I signed it.

  4. Strikes me as though THIS approach is the solution to discrimination by banks.

    Suppose, just for example, that the Bank of Men, NA decided to refuse to extend credit to women. It would be a heinous affront to the civil rights of a protected class of people. A state would be within the scope of its police power to refuse to permit such an institution to do business within its jurisdiction. I don’t think it would matter that the woman(women) so discriminated against had not attempted to patronize a branch in THAT state.

    Now then, suppose a Bank of Vegetarians, NA decided to refuse to extend credit to butchers or meat packers. The offended prospective customers are licensed to pursue their lawful professions in the applicable jurisdictions and they comply with applicable laws. The state should be able to refuse to allow them to conduct business within their jurisdiction.

    Most significant banking today is conducted by national banks (chartered by the Comptroller of the Currency as indicated by the designation “. . . , NA”). Once a few states ban any bank from conducting business within its jurisdiction if they discriminate against any lawfully conducted business or law-abiding individual based on its/his profession/trade/craft, then banks will have to decide whether to cut themselves out of a significant market; or, comply with the applicable anti-discrimination state laws.

    The jurisdiction of states to regulate offensive conduct outside their jurisdiction might be debatable. Nevertheless, banks will NOT be willing to wrestle with the reputation risk of defying such an assertion of state jurisdiction. Imagine if the issue at stake were – let’s say extending credit to transexuals – would any bank want to argue that it should be allowed to do business in Wyoming notwithstanding it’s discrimination against a transexual in Alaska?

    The banks would have to – with the most sincere regret – concede that they will not maintain an overt policy of discrimination against FFLs.

  5. Challenge accepted. . .

    This law is not only wrong, the entire concept behind the law is wrong. ALL laws of this type, including those that demand that private businesses MUST ‘do business’ with anyone, specifically ‘protected classes,’ are wrong.

    This country’s society has a strong belief in personal rights, and the rights of private entities to do as they choose so long as they cause no actual harm to another. Our government, over the years, has managed to restrict private business (and private citizens, for that matter), in ways far beyond those that ensure that actual harm does not come to those that do business with them, or who may be affected by their business practices. In many ways, those restrictions are based upon ethical or moral grounds–not legal ones–and THOSE can be the most onerous in terms of what a private business can do and what it can’t.

    The simple sign at the entrance to a restaurant, for example, “We Reserve The Right to Refuse Service To Anyone” should be all that needs to be said for any business. Sure, ethically and morally it is ‘wrong’ for a business to refuse to do business with a person or group because of unchangeable physical traits, religious belief, ethnicity, gender, sexual proclivities, and so on–but it is NOT ‘wrong’ for a business to choose not to do business with a foul-smelling person, a rude person, a Hollywood producer, a Porn magnate, or maybe just someone engaged in a form of commerce that the business finds repugnant, although that form of commerce is LEGAL.

    For example, would we applaud the bank that refused to do business with Planned Parenthood? Sure, we would! That’s because WE find Planned Parenthood repugnant. Why, then, should we applaud a government edict that our bank MUST do business with a firearms entity, even if THEY find that legal business repugnant?

    Either we believe in private-property rights, or we don’t. Either we believe in freedom of association, or we don’t. Either we believe that a Christian cake-maker can refuse to make a wedding cake for a man, a man, a chimpanzee and aardvark tying the knot, or we don’t.

      • In what way? Federal money is used to subsidize the petroleum industry that provides the natural gas or electricity, more often than not, to the donut maker’s oven. Federal money may have been spent to build the roadway n front of the donut shop. Is it the mere presence of Federal money that makes the difference? Does this give the Feds sovereignty over every aspect of a private business as well as a bank? If so, can a state government override the ‘mandate’ that is provided by their acceptance of Federal money for roads and cops and other fancy stuff, and just tell a national-but-private bank what it must do in the way of accepting clients and their money?

        Sticky stuff, this.

        • “All of the best girlfriends are. {half chimpanzee}”

          Bill Murray agreed in ‘Caddyshack’ :

          “Oh, yeah, she’s a monkey woman…”

    • An absolute right to refuse service can have serious consequences. In the Middle East (Iraq?), a woman showed up at a hospital badly in need of medical attention. The only doctor on duty, a man, treated her and saved her life. Her husband shot the doctor to death for defiling his wife. In his mind, her being touched by another man was worse than her death. Now, turn this around. Your wife goes to the hospital and dies because the only doctor on duty, a devout Muslim, refuses to treat her on religious grounds. That’s not permitted in the United States or any western country. Here, a doctor must choose between his religion and his duty and, if his religion comes first, he cannot be a doctor.

      • A hospital is akin to a bank as a kumquat is to an elephant. Your analogy is highly suspect.

        Just so you know, in this country a doctor MAY refuse to treat a patient; A hospital MAY legally refuse to admit an urgent need patient. A hospital may LEGALLY evict a patient in need of treatment for lack of payment. These acts may be unethical and immoral, but they are not illegal. Furthermore, in this country, a doctor CAN choose his religion over his ‘duty,’ such as in the case of refusing to perform an abortion or a sex-change operation, and he can very definitely retain his license–just maybe not his job.

        Let’s not get too far off into the weeds with this one. Let’s just say that I do not believe that Government can demand, by threat of force, that an individual perform a service for another against his will (absent a criminal conviction and court sentence)–I believe that the 13th Amendment covers that one. To demand, by threat of Government force, that a private business ‘do business’ with someone against their will is involuntary servitude, and that’s not putting too fine an edge on it.

        Call me old-fashioned.

        • Meh…. Double edged sword. The government can dictate or the corporations can. Or maybe they both just might be in cahoots. Give me an “F” for fascism….

          Btw.
          “No rights in the constitution are absolute.”
          -Some Old Clown Propped up Behind the Presidential Podium

    • John,I love how in your post about braced pistols you were all about living in the real, practical world, encouraging all of us to give up rights before they’re actually infringed in hopes that the left doesn’t come for us for a few extra days. Now you’re claiming we need to somehow undo decades of lawmaking about equal access to public services, as if that is at all plausible or even desirable. I can see what you’re really doing: trying to undermine people’s willingness to defend themselves and their rights with whatever argument seems most useful in the moment. If sapping the morale of gun owners requires that you criticize designers or owners of certain kind of guns, you’ll be all over that. If it requires you to craft a Psuedo-libertarian argument about equal access, no prob. You’re a smarter troll than most. Which foreign power trained you? Or is it just the good old DNC?

      • Gosh. I didn’t realize that I had such power. Truly, if you’re feeling that your morale is sapped, just avoid women and drink nothing but distilled water and pure grain alcohol. That’ll restore your precious bodily fluids in no time.

        Not everyone who disagrees with you, contrary to popular belief, is a ‘troll.’ Try to find a different epithet, one more applicable.

        I, too, believe in ‘equal access to public services’–those that are supplied by Government, the only entity to which the Bill of Rights applies, by the way. A private business–which is generally understood NOT to include hospitals–has no responsibility or duty to supply ‘equal access to public services,’ because it does not SUPPLY ‘public services;’ It supplies goods, or a service, for money. Those goods and services being sold are available to the public, naturally, but they do not exist as ‘public services.’

        So: If your restaurant refuses to serve you because it doesn’t like your looks, go to another restaurant. If your bank doesn’t want your money, go to another bank, or start your own. Just don’t demand that The Government use FORCE, which is all that Government CAN do, to MAKE those businesses cater to you against their will. If that’s what you WANT, then don’t complain when Government destroys a Christian cake-maker for refusing to make that man-man-chimpanzee-aardvark wedding cake, because it’s a ‘public service.’

        Simple, I think, and eminently appropriate in a free society based upon freedom of association and the open marketplace.

        • “A private business–which is generally understood NOT to include hospitals–has no responsibility or duty to supply ‘equal access to public services,’”

          If the hospital accepts state or federal funding supplied by the taxpayers, then the hospital must in return accept all citizens at their ER regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or previous condition of servitude.

          In fact, any business that wants to utilize the American people’s highways for access to their customers or avail itself of police or fire protection for it’s facilities or utilize the legal system to pursue those who would steal or embezzle their goods or wealth, well then they need to make certain concessions to have access to these services in the American people’s marketplace.

          The United States Constitution was not written to guarantee a profit to a business endeavor, but rather to guarantee equal opportunity and due process of law to all individual American citizens.

        • And right after I say that hospitals are generally NOT included in the general conception of private businesses, too. . .

          Leaving that aside, if Government can demand that private business, due to its use of ‘public services,’ can be compelled to do business with an entity that it finds repugnant, then it must logically follow that Government can compel private citizens to do the same.

          In the specific context of banks and firearms entities, I must point out that Congress has not added the latter to the list of ‘protected classes;’ None of what you mentioned is at all relevant, we are not discussing hospitals, and I don’t see why you bothered to mention it except to perhaps provide a shiny article with which to distract others.

          Further, you are repeating the fallacy that the Constitution, in the form of the Bill of Rights, is somehow applicable to a private business, or to an individual not in Government. It is not. Only the power of Government force has made it seem so.

          If you are willing to allow Government to compel individuals and private businesses to unwillingly provide goods and services that are not of an emergent nature, nor are life-supporting necessities, then you are willing to give Government ultimate power over its citizens.

        • “If you are willing to allow Government to compel individuals and private businesses to unwillingly provide goods and services that are not of an emergent nature, nor are life-supporting necessities, then you are willing to give Government ultimate power over its citizens.”

          Okay, then why were you chastising private citizens for exercising their (entirely legal) right to build and own specific kinds of firearm configurations just the other day? Are you claiming that it’s okay for government to coerce individuals and private businesses into behaviors that the left approves of, e.g. gun control, but not into the kind they disapprove, e.g. preventing discriminatory financial practices that run counter to the bill of rights? It certainly sounds like you are.

          I understand your libertarianish argument about private banks – or any business – serving who they want. I even agree with you on principle. But banks are highly regulated and subsidized at the federal level (unlike, for example, cake shops), and so I think it’s fair to make them honor constitutionally protected rights. Starting our “own bank” is an unserious and unrealistic bit of chaff given what it actually takes to stand up a new financial institution. Not to mention, you are ignoring how bank cartels (which is what we’re really talking about here) band together to suppress new competition in concert with the federal government, scoop funding from federal coffers, and coerce private citizens into ideologically approved behaviors. I have no problem with state governments exerting their authority to oppose such activities. Someone has to.

          So in the end, you’re upset that some people found a workaround for SBRs, you’re libertarian-cool with huge corporations infringing on people’s rights… how are you not a troll again?

        • Please stop conflating my opposition to ‘tweaking the nose of the dragon’ when it comes to skirting NFA regulations and thus drawing the wrath of said dragon down upon everyone else, with opposing Government having the ‘right’ to dictate with whom a private business, or a private individual, must do business with. The two concepts are not in opposition to one another, and are not even interrelated.

          But, suppose that the were some overlap. Let’s propose that a state DOES have the ability to override Federal law, legal precedent, and long-standing tradition, and CAN demand that a private company, a bank, MUST do business with a certain group that is NOT a ‘protected class,’ thus making that group INTO a ‘protected class’ under state law. Can the state, using this principle, declare that porn merchants are now a ‘protected class,’ and banks MUST now do business with them? How about pot merchants? Must all banks in a state, once pot merchants are added to the list of ‘protected classes,’ do business with pot merchants despite it being illegal under Federal law?

          As I said, it’s not ‘trolling’ to raise valid, freedom-based and historically-based questions simply because you are frightened by them. If freedom to question frightens you so much, stop reading what I write, or grow a spine and directly refute the logical arguments that I put forward, looking at the macro and not the micro.

          Instead, what you are doing is dangling a shiny object, just as does Minor69er, in an attempt to obfuscate and redirect. Try it on somebody else.

          Good night.

    • What a load of codswallop.

      Banks exist within a generous network of taxpayer and governmental backup and support, unlike a restaurant. Therefore, the public has a fair bit of say in how banks may conduct their business.

      If banks were truly “private businesses,” and not backstopped by the Federal Reserve, FDIC, FSLIC, Fannie/Freddie, etc, then they could play the libertarian card.

      They in fact do have all these lines of support for when (not if) they get into trouble, and they have exercised these lines of support several times in the last 40 years, and as such, have no leg to stand upon.

  6. Thank you for a productive discussion on the Wyoming law. However something has been avoided. This is about guns. Not about a Christian Bakery. And I have noticed that many in the libertarian Community tend to focus on the Christian Bakery and not about guns. But bringing up the bakery only points out that there are a lot of people who don’t know what the first amendment is for. Just as there are many people who don’t know what the Second Amendment is for.

    The first amendment is not about pornography. It never was. But that’s what many people say it was written for. Just as many people say the second amendment was written for hunting. No the second amendment has nothing to do with hunting.

    Because congresswoman Maxine Waters said people should harass Trump supporters instead of harassing homosexuals not a single libertarian writer to my knowledge wrote anything condemning her. As I have said before, if her comments we’re against gay people, I would have seen 100 well-written pieces condemning her in every major publication.

    But we’re talking about guns on TTAG. So when a gun store owner refuse to do business with gay customers, or muslims. The complaints came out of the woodwork everywhere on TTAG. I don’t know of any so-called a Libertarian who defended this man’s right to refuse to serve gays and muslims.

    From 2015
    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/michigan-auto-repair-shop-yes-to-gun-owners-no-to-gays/

    What happened to all those so-called First Amendment supporters who supported the Nazis marching in the Holocaust neighborhood, telling Jews they were going to come back and finish the job???

    Some people foolishly compared it to discrimination against black people. But I have news for you. A white homosexual has always been able to walk into a white owned gun store and buy a gun in this country. That’s not the same for a black person of any sexual orientation. In fact there were people on TTAG not that long ago, who supported a private business refusing to serve black people. They called that a freedom issue.

    It’s very simple. You don’t give up your individual rights for anything. You don’t give up your individual rights just to make someone feel better. And you don’t give up your individual rights because there’s a pandemic. But there are many Libertarians who were telling christians to do what the government tells them to do, and not to go to Easter church services on TTAG and elsewhere.

    I remember back when health insurance companies wanted to charge more for homosexual because of the AIDS crisis. And I remember very well reading the complaints from the Libertarians about that. So now I don’t really believe you when you say it’s a freedom issue for a large private companies.

    As I said before, much of this problem would be solved if we could go back to the days when black people could buy their machine guns through the mail. But Libertarians don’t support the government postal system. They say Private Industry should take over. So now we have communication companies refusing to process the communications of private individuals. Or refusing to serve the president of the United States that they don’t like. Or refusing to serve private Industries like the gun business that they don’t like.

    Libertarians say this is better than having a postal service that used to serve everyone regardless of their race, Creed, color or national origin.

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