Monday, May 19, 2014

Quickies: Self-Defense for the Self-Defense Industry

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday, Gentle Reader. I won't bore you with the reasons. Suffice it to say that at one point I was moving so fast that I crashed into myself coming around a blind corner.

Anyway, have a gander at the Obamunists' latest assault on our rights:

Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales.

Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks’ customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as “high risk” along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories.

“This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent ‘reputational risk’ to do business with,” said Peter Weinstock, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams LLP. “So financial institutions are reacting to this extraordinary enforcement arsenal by being ultra-conservative in who they do business with: Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped.”

A Justice Department representative said the agency is conducting several investigations that aim to hold accountable banks “who are knowingly assisting fraudulent merchants who harm consumers.”

“We’re committed to ensuring that our efforts to combat fraud do not discourage or inhibit the lawful conduct of these honest merchants,” the Justice Department said in a May 7 blog post.

But gun retailers say their businesses are being targeted in the executive branch’s efforts.

Clever, eh? The law, both statutory and "case law," is more firmly on the side of an individual right to keep and bear arms than it has been since U.S. v. Miller. But the Obamunists are determined to keep us from acquiring guns...rather, any more guns. So they've mounted a flank attack on the firearms industry: they've put intense pressure on the financial industry to deny them service.

These days, you don't have to be a lawbreaker to fear the weight of "the law," if we include the regulatory bureaucracies' power to inflict hardship on a company via onerous mandatory inspections and surrender of corporate records. Few who haven't been personally embroiled in such an inquisition have any idea how disruptive it is to business. For practical purposes, the company under the regulators' microscope must essentially cease to do business until the ordeal should end...and there's no guarantee that the ordeal will ever end.

Banks and credit card processors are the most heavily regulated category of business in these United States. As the dollar continues to deteriorate, ever more purchases are moving into the range where credit cards are the preferred (both by purchasers and vendors) method of payment. That makes payments processing an ideal "choke point" at which to apply strangulation pressure to any disfavored industry.

For firearms manufacturers, a healthy, reliable line of credit is a sine qua non. But of course, that requires a healthy, reliable banking relationship as well.

The C.S.O. is an accountant by trade. As the formation of a bank / payments processor that caters specifically to the firearms industry would seem to be the best response, I asked her what would be involved in creating such a bank. Her answer was, in essence, "Forget it." Regulations are once again the stopper; the federal regulatory authorities would ensure that such an institution would never open for business.

Washington's "assault weapon" is the regulatory bureaucracy: its de facto power to make law, its swelling cadre of armed enforcers, and Congress's unwillingness to rein it in. It has targeted the foundation of Americans' rights: the means we must have to defend them. What, then, must we do?


Pascal Fervor said...

What is to be done?

Well, to start, I added this to my key word "persecution" so that I may recall the form of attack.

For some of our fellow Americans it may seem a small matter; but as this persecution targets a means of defending against same, it suggests greater persecutions to come.

Pascal Fervor said...

On second thought, that is simply not enough. Do you have room for something more light-hearted?

For mnemonic reasons I've begun referring to any single tool of self defense as an augustu. We all should know what it means when authoritarians come to seize our augustus.

KG said...

For every politician hanged, ten bureaucrats should join them on the scaffold.

Joseph said...

I thought the only reason the regulators could get away with this is that the attempt at gun suppression was hidden. If they try shutting down a specialized gun-sellers bank, it will be out in the open.