Anti-gun advocates often are shocked to learn that they are in the minority when they can’t get legislation passed banning guns or limiting gun ownership in one way or another; of course, that doesn’t stop them from searching for other ways to accomplish their goals.
One such way is through the financial system. And, over the past several years, anti-gun corporations, some financial institutions and their executives have expressed interest in denying services to the firearm industry as a way to impose gun control without legislative action.
These actions have prompted four states—Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho and Iowa—to consider legislation this session that would ban such discrimination.
In Arizona, both the House (31 to 29) and Senate (16 to 13) passed S.B. 1096, putting the measure on course to become law; however, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) vetoed the bipartisan Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act on March 28.
“Governor Hobbs chose to allow Arizona businesses to be subjected to out-of-state discriminatory policies that put special interests over business success,” said Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel. “This shows state residents that their governor’s loyalties are with Wall Street’s ‘woke’ agenda and not with protecting homegrown businesses or protecting the Second Amendment rights of Arizona’s citizens.”
Despite the Arizona veto, lawmakers in the other three states continue to consider similar measures.
In Oklahoma, the House voted 74 to 19 on March 22 to pass H.B. 2218, which would ensure that Oklahoma taxpayers are not funding businesses that discriminate against the firearm industry. The measure specifically forbids companies to refuse to engage in trade, refrain from continuing an existing business relationship, or terminate an existing business relationship with an entity or association based solely on its status as a firearm entity or firearm trade association.
If approved by the state’s Senate and signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), the measure would take effect November 1.
Iowa’s legislation (Senate File 507) is also moving through the legislative process. On March 15, the state House voted 63 to 37 to pass the measure with an amendment that ensures that Iowa taxpayer dollars do not go to businesses that boycott the firearm industry, among other industries. The amended measure has gone back to the state’s Senate for consideration.
That measure states: “The general assembly is deeply concerned over the increased prevalence of investing based on social and environmental factors, known as environmental, social, and governance investing, rather than pecuniary factors. Therefore, the general assembly intends to ensure that state funds and funds administered by the state, including public employee retirement funds, are protected from political influence detrimental to the financial health of the state and its citizens and promote the general assembly’s goal of protecting free enterprise.”
Meanwhile, in Idaho, H.B. 190 passed through both of the state’s legislative chambers and is now at the desk of Gov. Brad Little (R). The measure requires that banks and credit unions that are designated depositories for public money do not boycott industries important to the State of Idaho and the livelihood of its citizens, including those that engage in, or support, the manufacture, distribution, sale or use of firearms. The NRA also played a crucial part in getting H.B. 295 to Gov. Little’s desk. This bill prohibits the use of firearms-specific merchant category codes by payment processors as part of another anti-firearms-discrimination bill for the firearms industry.