Gun collectors, beware. Certain Members of Congress believe if an individual buys too many guns, too much ammunition or too many accessories, that person is a potentially dangerous criminal or a “domestic terrorist.”
They also want banks to tell on anyone who might be buying too much.
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), and Jennifer Wexton, (D-Va.) introduced The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, H.R. 5764, in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate as S. 3117.
The legislation is troublesome because the politicians authoring it pitch it as a means to detect and prevent those who might be planning to commit an atrocity or terror attack.
The bill is fraught with civil liberty violations and not just those freedoms protected by the Second Amendment. Privacy rights – specifically those related to finances – would go by the wayside.
The bill would require the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) to give guidance to banks so they can report “suspicious financial activity.”
According to Sen. Markey, this undefined suspicious financial activity could be a warning sign an individual is planning a horrific crime or terror event.
“We cannot allow banks and financial institutions to turn a blind eye as shooters bank a pile of guns and ammunition in a lead up to an attack,” Sen. Markey said in a press statement.
“The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act will give us the guidance on how these institutions can help pinpoint and prevent gun violence across the country.”
The proposed legislation doesn’t define what level of financial activity is suspicious or how many firearms and accessories is “too many” or how much ammunition is “too much.”
Instead, it leaves that to be determined by Treasury Department officials. In other words, these Members of Congress would delegate the work defining what would allow the government to peer inside banking records.
Those Treasury Department bureaucrats would provide “guidance” to banks to report that “suspicious” activity. Media report gun seizures of several guns as “arsenals,” making anyone owning more than two or three guns seem suspect.
Terrifying Legislation — Gun Control Politicians Want Banks to Snoop on Gun Buyers • NSSF https://t.co/TyLpPv23pB
— Tom Gresham (@Guntalk) November 5, 2021
Like all Americans, those in the firearm industry are concerned about terrorism. Licensed retailers cooperate with law enforcement all the time and report suspicious activity.
However, this bill is similar to the federal government snooping around libraries and bookstores to see what books people are reading and what websites are visited.
It is a deeply troubling intrusion into the civil liberties of gun owners and the exercise of their Second Amendment rights that should trouble all Americans.
This legislation should be recognized for what it is – another attempt by lawmakers to circumvent civil rights and co-opting financial institutions to advance an anti-gun agenda.
The Obama administration illegally coerced banks to unlawfully discriminate against the firearm industry through Operation Chokepoint.
That was the effort by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to pressure financial institutions to stop lending and providing banking services to firearm-related businesses by labelling those business “high risk” despite having no evidence or justification.
Now, Congressional gun control advocates would order banks to spy on their customers for them.
Tried Before, Trying Again
Rep. Wexton and Rep. Dean introduced similar legislation in the last Congress. Their bill was H.R. 5132, the Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, that Rep. Wexton explained to voters in a town hall would explore “whether credit card transactions could be used as a warning tool for mass shootings,” according to The Prince Williams Times.
That was an idea that Shannon Watts endorsed. She, of course, is the head of anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action. Watts authored an op-ed in Business Insider pressuring credit card companies to deny purchases for firearm parts, to stem the sale of what she termed “ghost guns.”
It was also an idea that failed presidential and Senate candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke wanted to pursue, after he learned about it from The New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who wrote about it in 2018 and 2017.
— James Bigelow (@JamesBi08016114) November 3, 2021
The bill is also coming on the heels of the Biden administration being forced to step back from a proposal to monitor financial transactions on every American above $600 on every American bank account. NSSF warned that this was a bad omen for an administration bent on enforcing their radical gun control plan, even if it means sacrificing privacy rights.
Rep. Wexton’s bill moved nowhere in the last Congress. NSSF is working to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere in this one.
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NSSF: Louisiana AG puts major national bank on notice, warns them against messing with the Second Amendment
October 31, 2021
Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise for good reasons. Taxpaying outdoorsmen and women there won’t tolerate Second Amendment shenanigans, and Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry is putting a major national bank on notice.
JP Morgan Chase is the largest bank in the country with a balance sheet of nearly $3 trillion dollars.
That didn’t stop Louisiana’s top attorney from sending the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon a letter stating, “I do not believe the state of Louisiana is best served by doing business with companies that attempt to profit from the State while denying its citizens the ability to exercise their constitutional rights.”
The clock’s ticking on Dimon’s response and what he’ll say his bank stands for. Turns out Louisiana isn’t interested in more games. The bond commission removed the bank from a recent meeting’s agenda and is still waiting on Dimon’s official response.”
Taking a Stand
Dimon is no stranger to congressional hearings, his bank’s policies and gun control. He was questioned in 2019 by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) about a letter in which he described the bank’s duty to turn down business from “low character” clients.
She wondered why JP Morgan Chase hadn’t formally adopted gun control discrimination policies like those of Bank of America and Citigroup.
“We can certainly consider that,” Dimon responded. His answer set the table and JP Morgan Chase adopted its own antigun policies.
Fast forward and Dimon testified again before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in May this year. In his remarks, Dimon responded to a question from gun control advocate U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) that the bank, “… does not finance the manufacture of military-style weapons for civilian use.”
Language gymnastics aside, Dimon dismissed the fact that Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) are legal and so is manufacturing them. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry took notice.
In addition to AG, Landry also sits on Louisiana’s Bond Commission which oversees and decides what banks finance the bonds and underwriting for the state’s infrastructure projects.
JP Morgan certified it did not implement financing policies that would infringe on the rights of Louisianans when it submitted a “Solicitation for Offers” to the Louisiana Bond Commission. Landry made Dimon aware of the implications of these backdoor gun control policies held by the bank.
“As Attorney General, I have continuously fought to protect the rights of our citizens under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” he wrote.
“I believe that the Bond Commission should not conduct any business with an entity that discriminates against law-abiding citizens and businesses in the State of Louisiana.” Now JP Morgan must reconsider its “SFO” and provide answers or risk more than $1.1 billion in state business. Landry’s waiting.
La. AG Landry Fires 2A Shot Across Major Bank’s Bow https://t.co/YfZljc1wJj
— Larry Keane (@lkeane) October 25, 2021
States Standing Up
Louisiana isn’t alone in standing up to discriminatory policies. Texas’s legislature passed and Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott signed into law the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination Act (FIND Act).
The law prohibits “woke” corporations from profiting from Texas tax dollars and using those profits to fund efforts to deny those same taxpayers their Second Amendment rights.
The law already cost JP Morgan Chase the $3.3 billion it underwrote in bonds in 2020 now that it is denied from doing so this year.
A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase cried foul after the law was signed and the bank was refused the business.
“While our business practices should permit us to certify, the legal risk associated with this ambiguous law prevents us from bidding on most business right now with Texas public entities.”
It was JP Morgan Chase’s discriminatory business practices that got them in the situation in the first place.
State-level stands against corporate discrimination and Second Amendment activism isn’t just taking place in the South. FIND Act laws have been introduced in several states, including in Ohio where Republican state Rep. Scott Wiggam introduced legislation there.
Firearm-related businesses employ more than 12,000 Ohioans and generated $202 million in federal and state taxes. That included an additional $32.7 million in Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that benefit wildlife conservation.
“Ohio can stand up to these bank bullies. Our lawmakers already have a blueprint to do it too,” Rep. Wiggam wrote in a recent Op-Ed referencing Texas’s success.
“Ohio has a chance to put an end to corporate entities benefitting from taxpayer-funded contracts while at the same time using that money to deny Ohioans their Second Amendment rights.”
Dimon’s response to Landry will be telling, if he sends it. More states are taking a stand for their citizens’ Second Amendment rights and telling “woke” corporations like JP Morgan Chase to take their business elsewhere.
NSSF: Why gun owners should be concerned about IRS proposal to monitor purchases above $600
The Biden administration’s plan to fund a multi-trillion-dollar spending plan includes having the IRS snoop into every American’s bank account to examine transactions that are $600 or greater.
This alarming proposal has implications far beyond the government looking to extract tax money. It is also a potential way for the Biden administration to track who is purchasing firearms.
Treasury Sec. Janet Yellin was on Capitol Hill defending the Biden administration’s proposal.
“I think it’s important to recognize that we have a tax gap that’s estimated at $7 trillion over the next decade,” Sec. Yellen said, according to a Fox Business report. “That is taxes that are due and are not being paid to the government that deprive us of the resources that we need to do critical investments to make America more productive and competitive.”
Not Just Taxes, But Purchases
The Biden administration proposes that banks and credit unions report every transaction at the $600 threshold to counter tax cheats. That’s got privacy advocates howling.
It is especially concerning for the firearm industry and its customers that the government would collect information that could potentially include firearm purchases. While many firearms sold might not meet that $600 reporting requirement, a significant number would.
It threatens to become a back-door gun registry.
Sec. Yellen balked at the notion the government is intruding on financial privacy, explaining the IRS already has “a wealth of information about individuals,” citing examples such as the W-2 form filed for a person’s job, but said the IRS needs more information on “higher-income individuals who have opaque sources of income … not low-income people.”
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) grilled Sec. Yellin over the proposal in a Senate hearing.
Why Gun Buyers Should Be Concerned About IRS Proposal To Monitor Purchases Above $600 https://t.co/vFXiFaXA7m @CamEdwards @bowtiegunguy @dcodrea @aarmark @HT_GunWriter @HooserReason @captainsamerica @StephenGutowski @TuckerCarlson@GregKellyUSA @stinchfield1776 @Willie700WLW
— JIM STEPHENS (@JIMSTEPHENS12) October 3, 2021
“There are obvious privacy concerns for all Americans here and this represents a dramatic new regulatory burden for community banks and credit unions in Wyoming and elsewhere,” Sen. Lummis said. “Do you distrust the American people so much that you need to know when they bought a couch? Or a cow?”
Or a gun.
Trust the IRS?
The proposal is being met with fierce resistance, as it should. The IRS has already proven to be untrustworthy of personal information. The agency has been weaponized for political overreach before.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) settled a lawsuit in 2017 brought by dozens of conservative groups after the IRS unfairly scrutinized the tax exempt status of organizations based on political leanings under the Obama administration, while President Joe Biden was vice president.
That was the 2013 scandal in which then-Acting Director of Exempt Organizations at IRS, Lois Lerner remained defiant when called before Congress.
It’s also ironic that the Biden administration is prying into Americans’ private expenditures when it just surfaced that President Biden avoided paying $500,000 from earnings on speaking tours and book sales prior to his White House election.
The attempt to track Americans’ spending on items $600 or more, which would include firearm purchases, isn’t sitting well with banks or lawmakers.
The American Bankers Association wrote to both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that the proposal, “…implicates customer privacy and data security on a massive scale…”
The letter added that the IRS already collects massive amounts of data it is unable to manage.
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), a member of the Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, published a column in The Hill, ripping the proposed reporting requirements as reckless and ripe for abuse.
“Given the IRS’s track record on data security, including a 2015 data breach, tasking the agency to secure additional taxpayer information from nearly every American is a complicated and hazardous gamble, and one the federal government isn’t historically capable of winning.”
— Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) October 4, 2021
Rep. Brady said in addition to getting a true assessment of the IRS so-called tax gap, “This bill also protects taxpayers from IRS targeting based on their political or religious beliefs and closes loopholes that risk leaking private taxpayer returns.”
Sen. Crapo added, “This legislation places important guardrails around IRS funding to protect taxpayers’ rights and privacy.”
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) introduced S. 2857, the Banking Secrecy Act, to prohibit any Federal agency from requiring financial institutions to report on the financial transactions of their customers.
Sen. Tuberville told media he wants Americans to pay their fair share of taxes, “But I don’t want the federal government, ‘big brother,’ to be harassing private citizens.”
The prospect of a government agency monitoring every $600 expense is deeply concerning.
When that prospect is also being brought by an administration bent on enacting gun control by any means and proposed for an agency with a poor track record of securing taxpayer privacy, it is a recipe for disaster.
The IRS has no place delving into Americans’ wallets, especially when it is a means to access what is in their gun safe.
Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”. While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers. And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.
And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.
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