California Lawmakers Go for Backdoor Gun Control

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posted on March 6, 2023
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A California state senator has introduced anti-Second Amendment legislation that, if enacted, would greatly damage the firearms industry and the Second Amendment for Californians and, perhaps, for other Americans.

In February, S.B. 637 was introduced by state Sen. Dave Min (D). The text of the bill, and its attack on the legal business of manufacturing firearms, speaks for itself. S.B. 637, as introduced, says, “Existing law prohibits certain state trust funds from making or holding investments in business firms or financial institutions that engage in specified discriminatory business practices. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to subsequently amend this bill to include provisions that would prohibit financial institutions that do business with gun manufacturers from doing business with the state of California.”

In other words, since California law currently prohibits state entities from practicing financial discrimination against legal businesses, Senator Min wants the law amended to allow California state agencies to legally discriminate against financial institutions that do business with gun makers.

A press release from Min’s office explained that such legalized discrimination was needed to “end the gun violence epidemic.”

As Min himself stated in the release, “SB 637 will force Wall Street to make a choice between the blood money offered by the gun industry and doing business with the State of California, sending a clear message and more importantly a strong market signal that the State of California will not, either directly or indirectly, finance gun violence.”   

S.B. 637 could have a major impact on the firearms industry. As a press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted, California’s economy weighs in at a staggering $3.4 trillion annually, and ranks as the world’s fourth largest economy. The California economic engine is poised to surpass the whole economy of Germany, according to the World Economic Forum.

According to NSSF, California “manages approximately $3.1 trillion in banking transactions within a fiscal year, including selling bonds and overseeing the state’s debt and investment portfolios. California currently reports $63.3 billion in total General Obligation bonds outstanding.”

Of course, California has ties to all the major financial and investment services. A law forcing these businesses to choose between working with the state or doing business with gun makers would surely force the nation’s largest banks and payment service providers to choose the $3 trillion player.

Dan Reid, the Western Regional Director for NRA-ILA, noted, “We are still early in the legislative process, with this bill still in spot form, only expressing their intent on the subject matter. However, the California Legislature has an insatiable appetite when it comes to attacks on our Second Amendment Rights.”

“The Legislature is constantly working to find new ways to attack and marginalize the rights of law-abiding gun owners here in the Golden State, while letting criminals off with soft-on-crime policies.”

Should this bill make it through the legislature, Reid has little doubt that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) would sign it into law.

“Like all gun control bills,” he said, “there is always a chance the bill will be passed through. I’m certain Governor Newsom would like nothing more than to ink his signature to another anti-Second Amendment bill, especially if it will provide some misdirection on criticisms of his failed public safety policies.”Using the financial sector to strip away our Second Amendment rights has its origins in the Obama administration’s “Operation Choke Point,” in which federal regulators, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, used their authority to try to intimidate banks into not providing services to lawful industries. Retailers that sold firearms and ammunition were among those targeted in Operation Choke Point, and many lost access to the capital and the credit they required to do business.

Operation Choke Point and S.B. 637 show the need for recently introduced federal legislation, the Fair Access to Banking Act, led by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R) and supported by the NRA. Cramer’s bill would require large national banks to provide fair access to all the products they offer, while prohibiting financial service providers from using “woke” political considerations to refuse doing business with law-abiding customers like manufacturers and retailers in the firearms industry.

At the same time, Sen. Steve Daines (R) introduced S.B. 428, “A bill to amend title 41, United States Code, to prohibit the Federal Government from entering into contracts with an entity that discriminates against firearm or ammunition industries, and for other purposes.” Companion legislation, H.R. 53, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman (R).

At the state level, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a similar law in 2021, stopping state agencies from working with financial entities that discriminate against the firearms industries. Similar legislation is being considered in other states.

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