Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced legislation Thursday that would prevent Wall Street from unbanking and denying service to the firearms industry.
Sen. Cramer introduced the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to ensure that large financial firms cannot deny service to constitutionally-protected industries that comply with all laws and statutes. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) also backed the bill as a co-sponsor.
“A small number of banks controlling most of the financial sector could effectively illegalize legal commerce by refusing to finance certain industries or process certain transactions,” said Sen. Cramer in a statement on Thursday. “Look no further than pro-Second Amendment industries where such discrimination has already occurred. Big banks should not be the arbiters of constitutionality.”
The Freedom Financing Act focuses on the industries that have faced significant discrimination from Wall Street: firearms, ammunition, and sporting goods. The legislation would not force businesses to do business with a specific industry, but instead, it would ensure that legal commerce is not illegalized. The bill exempts financial institutions and community banks with less than $10 billion in assets.
Sen. Kennedy said in a press release Thursday:
It’s not a bank’s job to create policy. They need to leave the policymaking to Congress,” said Senator Kennedy. “Banks should not be able to discriminate against lawful customers on the basis of social policy. The banks should keep in mind that these lawful customers are the same hard-working taxpayers who bailed them out during the recession. This legislation will ban big banks from refusing to do business with customers that may not share the same political values as the bank. This kind of power move is an unfair assertion of dominance by the big banks, which is why it should be illegal.
Since 2018, the left has pressured Wall Street to impede the firearms industry from operating. Citibank said last year that it would not do business with any company that sells “high caapcity magazines,” while Bank of America said it would cut off its services to any company that sells “AR-style” weapons. The online payment processor Stripe, which frequently financially blacklists right-wing figures, refuses to process payments for any firearms businesss. So far, only Wells Fargo has refused to join the rest of Wall Street in unbanking the gun industry.
Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said that politicians such as Sen. Cramer have shown leadership to represent the American people’s interest, not the interests of “faceless corporate boards” representing the few and powerful.
Keane said in a statement Thursday:
American taxpayers need to be reassured their tax dollars that subsidize insurance and bailout policies for banking institutions aren’t weaponized in an attempt to eradicate a lawful industry because it has fallen out of favor with boardroom bureaucrats. Senator Cramer’s leadership in confronting this issue guarantees social policies are debated and created by the elected officials Americans vote to represent their interests, not by faceless corporate boards representing the interest of the few.
“We applaud Senator Cramer for his clear vision in correcting this abuse of American trust and taxpayer dollars,” Keane added.