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The Effort To Strangle Operation Choke Point

The Effort To Strangle Operation Choke Point

What’s an anti-gun president to do? Nearly every anti-gun legislative proposal President Barack Obama has supported over the past several years has failed in Congress. His bully-pulpit pontifications on the need for further gun restrictions have been largely ignored by everyone except Michael Bloomberg and his Everytown minions. Even his scheme to have the BATFE ban common ammunition for the most popular rifle in the country met with such a large amount of nearly universal opposition that the agency had to back off before the comment deadline rolled around. 

What to do, what to do? Well if you’re the Obama administration, you find every other possible way to make it harder for legal businesses dealing with firearms and ammunition to stay in business. Enter Operation Choke Point, allegedly created back in 2013 as a way to combat consumer fraud by working with multiple government agencies to discourage banks from doing business with “high risk” industries.

Enter Operation Choke Point, allegedly created back in 2013 as a way to combat consumer fraud by working with multiple government agencies to discourage banks from doing business with “high risk” industries. It all sounds good, until bureaucrats decide that firearms and ammunition should be considered “high risk,” and start ruining good peoples’ businesses and lives.

And that’s what has happened. And despite repeated attempts by Congress to put an end to the “operation,” reports persist of gun shops and other businesses suddenly being told by their banks that they will no longer do business with them. 

Many in Congress continue to fight this unfair treatment of lawful American businessmen and women. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure—the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act—which contained amendments prohibiting the Justice Department from using any funds to carry out Choke Point, along with language blocking several other Obama administration gun-control schemes.

“While I had hoped that the unprecedented Operation Choke Point would have been far behind us by now, it was once again necessary to offer an amendment to the annual Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations legislation to prohibit funding for it,” said Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., who sponsored the amendment.

Interestingly, other portions of the measure included: 

  • A prohibition on funds for banning commonly used ammunition, such as M855; 
  • A prohibition on the use of funds or spending taxpayer dollars on “gun-walking” programs such as the flawed and controversial “Operation Fast and Furious”;
  • A prohibition on the use of funds to maintain any record or gun registry on multiple rifle or shotgun sales to law-abiding individuals; and
  • A prohibition of funds for collecting data regarding a person’s race or ethnicity on Form 4473 when purchasing a firearm.

“On behalf of the NRA’s 5 million members, I want to thank House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers and House CJS subcommittee Chairman John Culberson for their leadership in fighting against the Obama-Bloomberg gun-control agenda,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in an NRA-ILA communications. “Their hard work and unwavering commitment to protecting our freedoms resulted in a strong pro-Second Amendment piece of legislation. The NRA will continue to work with Congress to prevent President Obama from imposing his backdoor gun-control agenda on the American people.”

The effort to put a stop to Operation Choke Point has been a long, tough battle. Since Congress began trying to block the bureaucratic nightmare, those in the firearm and ammunition business have continued to be unfairly targeted and forced to try to make other banking arrangements.“The bottom line is, you’re putting innocent people out of business and all of the people at the FDIC who are implementing this program still work there,” Rep. Duffy said.

Back in March, the Committee on Financial Services’ Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on Choke Point, where Martin J. Gruenberg, FDIC chairman, testified. U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, used no uncertain terms when outlining Operation Choke Point’s unfairness at the hearing. 

“The bottom line is, you’re putting innocent people out of business and all of the people at the FDIC who are implementing this program still work there,” Rep. Duffy said. “They haven’t been fired and they haven’t been reprimanded. These folks have no place in government—and if you allow them to stay, you have no place in government.”

Since that hearing, however, businesses have continued to be unfairly targeted and it seems Choke Point has continued unabated, prompting this most recent legislative action.

Operation Choke Point is just one in a long line of disturbing offenses by the Obama administration against America’s law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment. The sooner the program is ended completely, the sooner gun and ammunition dealers can again be treated fairly in their banking relationships. Last week’s congressional action is a good next step.