Unable to enact its gun control agenda through Congress, the Obama Administration appears to be using the regulatory power of the federal government to crack down on gun sales. Since 2011, the FDIC has increased enforcement actions against banks that do business with so-called "high risk" industries. Those industries include businesses that sell porn, drug paraphernalia, and now gun dealers as well. "This may be a way for the administration to implement their policy that they haven't been able to do on a legislative front, so they're looking at the regulatory front," says John Heasley, president of the Texas Bankers Association.
In addition to the FDIC crackdown, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, aimed at banks and credit card companies that process transactions for "fraudulent merchants who harm consumers," according to the DOJ. But the crackdown has also caused a chilling effect on banks doing business with gun retailers, even those who are legit. Patrick Woods from Spring Guns & Ammo tells KTRH that gun shops have fewer options to process credit card transactions. "Really, it limits the ability you have to run a viable business if you can't get competitive credit card rates," he tells KTRH.
Woods sees this as just the latest in a series of anti-Second Amendment moves by the Obama Administration, including government agencies buying up ammunition and the EPA cracking down on gun ranges. "It seems like it's coming from all angles," he says. "We are having more and more difficulty operating a viable business, and we consider ourselves to be standup, American businessmen."
Heasley says the banking crackdown hasn't extended to Texas, and is unlikely to do so. "From the Texas perspective, we're a pretty pro-gun state. And I think you'll see a lot of pushback from customers or business owners if it's applied here."