Friends Don't Let Friends Bank Woke
Whether it is due to the lingering effects of Operation Chokepoint or corporate wokeness gone awry, as an ammunition company we suffer greatly in our access to capital.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article about how our company was being jerked around by the banking industry. We were actually canceled by our payment processor and later to add insult to injury, couldn’t get a bank loan from multiple banks, both simply because we sold ammunition. This was a shock to me back then, but after conducting some research I learned that it was actually part of an effort by the Obama Administration to choke off funds for the firearms industry. This wasn’t a conspiracy theory, it had a name: “Operation Chokepoint”. This unconstitutional program allowed government agencies to pressure banks into cutting off funding to certain industries that the administration deemed undesirable by labeling them as “high risk”. So you basically have firearms dealers and ammunition companies lumped in with money launderers, illegal drug sales, and counterfeiters…uh what?
As if I needed to be reminded of this bias, we recently attempted to get a working capital line of credit from a regional bank - something that every company on the planet does to help smooth out the inflows and outflows of money. Well 5 minutes into the conversation and they tell us “they can’t do ammo”. Translation, they can’t lend to us because we sell ammunition. A product that is protected under our constitution no less!
This is just one example out of at least a half dozen we have run into over the past year. It is now sadly expected when we talk to a financial company that they will in all likelihood turn us down because we sell “evil” ammunition.
Whether it is due to the lingering effects of Operation Chokepoint or corporate wokeness gone awry, as an ammunition company we suffer greatly in our access to capital because of it, as do many companies in our industry. Your average gun owner doesn’t know about this form of discrimination because it is done at the business level.
Of course we try to only do business with companies that are pro-2A (or are at least neutral) and avoid those that aren’t - why should we give money to companies that hate what we do? This is one reason why we’re now switching banks from a large national bank to a smaller pro-2A regional bank.
While we are trying to only do business with companies that support our values, there are efforts at the state level to do something similar. For example, Texas recently rolled out a law that focuses on promoting 2A values. In a nutshell, if banks want access to Texas’s muni or state bond contracts worth $100,000 or more, they need to certify that they don’t restrict lending or financial products to firearms or ammunition companies. This is huge because Texas is second only to California in the value of its bond market at $58B in 2020 so this is a lucrative bond pie for banks to miss out on. Of course this created a dilemma for large, woke multinational banks like BofA, JP Morgan, and Citibank, but created a boom for smaller banks that had no such biases.
Are more states going to follow this example? Well it looks like South Dakota is headed that way with the Financial Industry Nondiscrimination Act, which is currently active in the state senate. Its aim is similar to that of Texas’s new law but goes further by not allowing any government agency or employee acting on behalf of the state to enter into any contract with a bank that maintains anti-2A policies.
These are good examples of local action being taken to thwart the anti-2A policies of big government and big banks. More cities, counties, and states should take similar action.
In fact, to really be effective, we need to bring this all the way down to the individual level, and only bank with companies that are pro-2A. If you are passionate about 2A issues then banking with Citicorp or JP Morgan Chase should be low on your priority list.
Andrew Torba, the CEO from Gab talks a lot about a parallel economy - one created outside of the traditional channels and aligns with your values. A few months ago, I asked him for suggestions on banking because he has a target on his back too. He suggested a small local community bank or credit union while of course avoiding the big banks, would be the way to go.
The idea is that if these banks and businesses are going to be biased and discriminate against you, then you should walk away and do business with companies that better align with your values and beliefs. By moving your money and your business away from woke banks, you are starving them of their lifeblood - money. That is exactly what they want to do to companies in the firearms industry like AmmoSquared, so we’re happy to dish it right back and move our business elsewhere.