California Goes Full ‘Woke’ On Banking Discrimination Against Firearm Industry

By Larry Keane

Never underestimate the ability of California lawmakers to embrace the wildest ideas when it comes to eliminating gun rights. Other states are pushing back on “woke” banking discrimination. Not California. There’s an effort there to require it.

State Sen. Dave Min introduced SB 637, which requires that California’s public finances cease business with any banks or lenders that have business relationships with firearm manufacturers. The bill would affect every aspect of California’s finances, including municipal bonds, capital projects and the state’s debt.

It would be easy to say this is California taking the opposing track to what Texas did with the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act. That’s the law that states if corporate banks hold discriminatory policies, they can’t compete for state or municipal contracts. Those corporate banks are free to discriminate if they choose, but forfeit the ability to profit from Texas taxpayer-funded contracts. Similar legislation has been introduced in Congress by U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Fair Access to Banking Act, which would require banks to provide access to services, capital, and credit based on the objective risk assessment of individual customers, rather than subjective broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers. Several states are considering their own FIND Acts, including IowaMontanaKentucky and West Virginia. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced he’s seeking similar legislation for his state.

The difference between these laws and California’s legislation is that California’s proposal requires corporations to discriminate for the sole reason that firearm manufacturers are in the business of making guns.

That’s nothing to sneeze at, given California’s economy is poised to be the world’s 4th largest at $3.4 trillion. According to the World Economic Forum, it is set to surpass Germany’s economy.

According to the OC Breeze, California Treasurer’s Office, the state manages approximately $3.1 trillion in banking transactions within a fiscal year, including selling bonds and overseeing the state’s debt and investment portfolios. California currently reports $63.3 billion in total General Obligation bonds outstanding.

Codifying Operation Choke Point

Sen. Min’s proposed legislation is a state-level Operation Choke Point, the illegal coercion by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to discriminate against firearm manufacturers and businesses. A U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform investigation found that the FDIC included federally licensed firearms retailers and other companies in the firearms and ammunition industry – some of the most heavily regulated businesses in the country – on a list of risky businesses without any evidence or justification.

Sen. Min’s bill would codify that. He’s no stranger to antigun legislation. He authored the law that ended the sale of firearms and ammunition on state property, which ended gun shows on state fairgrounds.

SEE ALSO: Franklin Armory CA320 Added to California Roster of Certified Handguns

The bill, though, might be facing legal headwinds. Specifically, it could run headlong into the Commerce Clause. That’s the part of the U.S. Constitution that gives Congress the sole power to regulate interstate commerce. Sen. Min’s bill would deny business to any corporate entity unless it adopts California’s mandate that those businesses refuse business to law abiding, credit-worthy firearm manufacturers. Given the size of California’s economy, this is a direct threat to firearm manufacturers, which comprise a Constitutionally-protected industry. If the government forces the industry out of existence by threat of economic might, it is unlawfully limiting the ability of the firearm industry – and the banks that provide financial services – from conducting interstate commerce. That’s the responsibility of Congress to regulate – not California.

This bill would also run afoul of the Second Amendment. The goal of this bill obviously is to drive the firearm industry out of existence, and with it the ability of law-abiding Americans to exercise their right to acquire firearms for lawful purposes including self-protection. It would shutter the industry that provides the tools law enforcement uses to protect America’s communities and the U.S. military to defend the homeland.

California Discrimination

This isn’t the first time California has wielded economic might to discriminate against the firearm industry. California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, is one of the largest public employee pension funds in the country. Entire industries have been on the CalPERS blacklist including tobacco and fossil fuels. Of course, gun control activists who have been having little luck in passing irrational legislation, are also targeting pension funds nationwide to urge divestment.

The problem is that fund managers owe a legal, fiduciary obligation to their investors – those people putting money into the public retirement funds. Fund managers aren’t picking the best performing portfolios, rather they are investing other people’s money to buoy special interests – in this case denying investment into firearm-related businesses at the behest of gun control.

Tucker Carlson, of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, reported in 2020 that Yu Meng, who was the Chief Investment Officer at CalPERS, and while he was there “long engaged in shareholder activism to advance leftwing causes in this country like gun control and have been very aggressive about it.” At the same time, CalPERS invested Californians’ public employee retirement funds into companies that supply the Chinese military.

Meng resigned from CALPers in 2020, and the public fund was later sued by a former board member for alleging that CalPERS improperly held a closed door meeting about Meng’s exit, and has since refused to release records about it or of the fund’s assets.

Antigun Future

None of that seems to concern Sen. Min. In fact, he sees his radical antigun efforts as a springboard to higher office. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced she would not seek re-election in 2024. The scramble to replace her began before her official announcement, with U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) throwing her hat into the arena. State Sen. Min sees this as his opportunity to take his antigun agenda from California to Washington, D.C. Rep. Porter endorsed Sen. Kim to replace her at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sen. Min’s legislation, and his political ambitions, shows the clear threat to American rights when special interests use the levers of government to pick and choose which rights are favored and disfavored.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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  • Dutch February 25, 2023, 12:46 pm

    Give California back to Mexico. They no longer want to be guided by the Constitution of the United States. They thumb their noses at SCOTUS. They protect criminals, make criminals out of law abiders, and the majority leadership is nothing but a bunch of power hungry retards. Let us hold onto the military bases and cut the rest of CA loose. Treat the treasonists just like Cuba. They’re mostly Mexicans anyways so they should be right at home. While we’re at it, lets throw in Chicago too.

  • Derek W Tiller February 25, 2023, 12:54 am

    every gun and ammo manufacturer needs to stop selling to any kalifornia state agency. let’s see how they feel when they don’t have anyone armed to protect them.

  • Stan d. Upnow February 24, 2023, 10:01 am

    Just one more piece of evidence that the Progressive-Socialists of Commiefornia are out-and-out fascists.
    If any company in the firearm industry is stupid enough to still be located in that fascist state, then they deserve what they get. They are also propping-up Newsom and his fascist inner circle with their taxes. I have no respect or sympathy.

  • me too February 24, 2023, 8:15 am

    Sounds like these Californians need to be investigated for Chinese communist ties.

  • survivor50 February 20, 2023, 10:41 pm

    Just SEAL OFF California now and be DONE with it …

    • Stan d. Upnow February 24, 2023, 10:03 am

      Yeah, sure, like they sealed-off our southern border?

  • Blue Dog (he/him) February 20, 2023, 8:26 pm

    They say that the states are the labs of democracy, that it is appropriate to try out new ideas and solutions on the state level. We can learn a great deal about how well or how poorly these programs can work, how practical these laws are, what kinds of disparate impacts these programs create, challenges to the constitutionality of these laws, unintended consequences or emerging grey market workarounds, all by trying different solutions on the state level before implementing them nationwide.

    • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment February 22, 2023, 8:46 am

      bd you english twit you just promoted extortion and possibly the rico act, mght be fine for your country but here it’s illegal!

      • Stan d. Upnow February 24, 2023, 10:07 am

        He/him/they/it is a Limey? How do you know that? Unless a naturalized citizen, it has no business even being on this site.

        • Mac February 24, 2023, 11:48 am

          And you do ?

          Oh , that’s right . You’re the official Regulator .

          Asshat !

        • Blue Dog (he/him) February 25, 2023, 4:05 pm

          I am not English. I am American. I am from Texas, which is a lot like being from any of those other states but better. I have lived in Texas all my life, bourne here, went to college here, got married here and am still here today. paul keeps saying that I am foreign because I appreciate more refined spelling. I hate metrics and soccer. I don’t put beans in my chili but I do put ice in my tea. He cannot stand the idea of an American firearm enthusiast wanting the community to advocate for responsible firearm ownership, so I have to be foreign.

    • Stan d. Upnow February 24, 2023, 10:10 am

      Boy, you sure can’t take a hint! Actually, a lot more than a hint; we/us don’t like you, don’t like your HUTA opinions, and wish you would take your Blue ass somewhere else. There, is that plain enough fer ya?

      • Pockmark February 24, 2023, 11:20 am

        Look in the mirror , dipshit .

    • Big Al 45 February 24, 2023, 10:51 am

      What kind of inhuman fool advocates experimenting on peoples lives and welfare??
      Nice Big Brother, really nice.

    • a11four1 February 26, 2023, 11:29 pm

      We can learn……. how well or how poorly these programs can work, how practical these laws are, what kinds of disparate impacts these programs create……..?
      Tell us more, noble cur. Start by replacing ‘programs’ with enforcement of laws. That’ll demonstrate practicality, and steer around if not evade disparate impacts. Next, disassemble unconstitutional enactments, of which probably 100K+ exist; those which satisfy morons and paid lackeys.
      Programs, bastard children of massively funded governmental studies. Sort of resembles endless dependence on welfare.

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