As Yogi Berra famously quipped, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
Four months after the House voted 395 – 2 to kill Eric Holder’s anti-gun Operation Choke Point, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is encouraging credit card companies to strangle gun transactions by classifying them alongside pornography and illicit drugs.
“If gun violence continues unabated in society — public outcry and calls for action may grow and create significant financial risk for the company,” DiNapoli reportedly wrote to Mastercard.
DiNapoli also contacted executives from Visa, American Express, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and other companies to consider implementing systems that could reject purchases of weapons or ammunition.
DiNapoli controls New York’s $209.1 billion pension fund, which owns shares of each of the nine companies he contacted.
The moves come alongside a separate effort by Citigroup to force its clients to restrict firearm purchases. The company announced that it will no longer do business with companies that sell bump-fire stocks and “high capacity” magazines. It will also require its clients to perform background checks on all gun purchases and prohibit the sale of firearms to anyone under the age of 21.
Reclassifying gun and ammunition purchases as “high risk” would give credit companies an excuse not to do business with merchants that sell these items. If gun dealers do secure lines of credit, high-risk merchants “have to make do with crappier terms and higher rates,” according to Merchant Maverick.
These restrictions would make doing business as a small firearms company increasingly difficult in an environment already feeling the effects of a post-Obama slump.
The strategy feels suspiciously similar to the Obama-era, Eric Holder-led Operation Choke Point. Operation Choke Point was a federal policy that encouraged banks and money lenders to cut ties with companies engaged in nefarious, “high risk” activities.
The feds peddled the plan as a way to combat fraud, money laundering, and terrorism, but they also used it to go after the gun industry and dry up their lines of credit.
The policy has faced strong criticism from the pro-gun community as well as members of Congress, and the House voted to repeal Operation Choke Point late last year.
“It is simple: the federal government should not be able to intimidate financial institutions into dropping entire sectors of the economy as customers, based not on risk or evidence of wrongdoing, but purely on personal and political motivations,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) in a press release.
Now the anti-gun lobby is taking Operation Choke Point to the state level, and they’re using the Parkland-driven hysteria to put as many firearm and ammunition dealers and manufacturers out of business.