Small Banks Know What Big Banks Won’t Learn About Firearm Industry

(Photo: NSSF)

By Larry Keane

Big corporations with “woke” policies are waking up to the fact that smaller businesses are glad to take the business they shun.

American Banker reported that corporate banks are quaking in their boots over the Texas state legislature’s debating a bill that would end taxpayer support to contract with corporations that willfully discriminate against the firearm industry. The bill, SB 19, is termed the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act and would end discrimination by corporate entities against the firearm industry if those companies wanted to do business with the state. The legislation would deny corporations the ability to benefit from taxpayer-funded state or municipal contracts while at the same time holding policies that would deny services to firearm-related businesses. Texas’s legislature is taking a stand that they’re unwilling to sell out the Second Amendment rights of their citizens to safeguard the profit margins of big corporations that use their might to force policy outside of legislative channels.

The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives and is pending in the state Senate. One group is now saying they’re fine with the $58.4 billion in local bonds that are at stake. If corporate entities – including big banks like Bank of America and Citigroup – choose to deny services to an entire industry because they don’t want to support Second Amendment rights, local banks are ready to take the business.

Locals Like It

“I don’t think it’s an issue in Texas with our banks domiciled here. We have remained neutral on this,” said Steve Scurlock, director of government relations for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, according to American Banker. “This may give some opportunity for expansion in the public finance space for our community banks.”

The legislation doesn’t force the state to end contracts with corporations. All it does is require corporations that seek to do business with the state and local municipalities to certify that they hold no policies that discriminate against firearms or ammunition businesses and won’t hold those policies while the state contracts are in force. Corporations that have contracts could continue to compete for them, should the bill be passed by the state Senate and signed by Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott. They just have to stop unfairly discriminating against an industry that provides the means for Second Amendment rights.

SEE ALSO: Bank of America Sells Out Gun & Ammo Purchasers As Potential Criminals

Texas state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione shepherded the bill through the House and said it’s really quite simple.

“They should not be able to receive taxpayer dollars if they do not support the Constitution,” Rep. Capriglione said. He was ready to name names too. When pressed, Rep. Capriglione said Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp., along with Intuit, Square and PayPal have all held discriminatory policies to choke out gun-related business while they enjoy Texas tax money to do it.

The legislation was so important to the state that Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick marked it as one of his top 30 priority bills at the start of the legislative session. The bill’s lead sponsor, Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner, explained the bill’s importance this way.

“These institutions hold our money and attempt to use financial pressure to infringe upon our Second Amendment rights,” Rep. Schwertner said. “This is unacceptable.”

Step Carefully

Corporations are huffing and puffing, telling legislators that if the bill is signed into law, it will cost taxpayers more money. Local banks, whose employees live, work and raise their families in Texas are singing a different tune, according to the Texas Bankers Association.

“This is Texas where there is broad support for the Second Amendment by our elected state leaders and a large number of our bank members, so our association has not opposed the legislation,” the group’s general counsel, John Heasley, said in an emailed statement to American Banker. “It is also a competitive marketplace, and in that context, individual institutions have to decide for themselves their policies and the implications based on the markets and customers they serve.”

In other words, Heasley’s telling big corporations not to step in something that can’t be scraped off.

That’s not just common sense. That’s smart business.

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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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Devo June 9, 2021, 10:03 am

    Be careful here harpooning the big banks. While it might be debated whether they are defacto extensions of gov’t, they are, in fact, doing business in the private sector with the general public. All to often I see people confuse the terms public and private when it comes to business, but they shouldn’t be ridiculed either, as the term public is properly used in very different contexts. A privately held company or a publicly held company doing business with the general public is in the private sector and is ENTIRELY different than anyone engaged in business in the public sector (with the government). These banks- as well as bakers, wedding planners, photographers, etc- should be able to do business with whomever they please. Not so for a county clerk. The former has rights. The latter must uphold the rights of all. People also confuse rights- what they are and how they are exercised. By pure, simple and only definition, no one’s rights can infringe on anyone else’s. My rights end where yours begin. I happen to think businesses in private sector should do business with whomever they want AND have the courage to make it known. Subsequently and of equal importance, consumers should be educated and vote with their wallets. On the other hand, what the Texas legislature is doing here is a proper response. They have a fiduciary responsibility to properly spend the money of the taxpayers that elected them in the way the majority of those taxpayers desire.

  • David Boerboom May 21, 2021, 3:42 pm

    GOOD! I wish Louisiana would have done this when given the chance. Louisiana is teetering when it comes to remaining a free state, or something like a free state… People, Louisianaians; have no idea just how far Louisiana could take its own free statehood… But no, the government buckles due to the stresses of the money received from the tourist industry… If they don’t like Louisiana culture and policies, stay out… So certain members in the Louisiana government try to act as if Louisiana is more modern and more woke than it really is… 1/3 of the fuel in the United States comes from Louisiana alone, along with having one of the largest ports in the world…. If Louisiana wanted to put its foot down, it could. I’m glad Texas has been able to get this far with attempting to enact this policy.

  • perlcat May 21, 2021, 12:43 pm

    I think it’s a win-win for Texas. Local banks deserve a chance at the table, and allowing large government-supported businesses to squelch freedoms is indistinguishable from having the government do it. If megabanks don’t mind turning away business, it’s fair play for the government to do the same thing.

  • Frank S. May 21, 2021, 6:52 am

    I disagree with Blue Dog, at least on this point. The Texas government is just telling the big banks that they shouldn’t be infringing on people’s rights, and Texas won’t tolerate it. It won’t cost Texas much, if anything. Smaller banks won’t be able to give quite as a good a rate in some cases, but there won’t be much difference. It’s not wrong for the government, state or federal, to tell corporations to stay out of politics. It’s not the bank’s (or any corporation’s) job to dictate to the general public. That’s what laws and voting on those laws and the people who make them is for.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) May 20, 2021, 2:06 pm

    It doesn’t seem right to respond to virtue signaling in the private sector with virtue signaling from the public sector. When have two wrongs made a right? Two wrongs here take away a right!

    • KC (sire/your majesty) May 21, 2021, 6:33 am

      It’s isn’t virtue signaling, it’s not subsidizing buffoonery with public money. Similar to using First Amendment rights to demand others be silenced. Private companies are free to set up their own policies, but not if they’re discriminatory on the basis of legal activity. You were all about taking away rights on the Fort Smith story, but apparently this is “different”. Banks don’t “need” public money. If they do, maybe they shouldn’t be banks. At the risk of droning on, aren’t these the same banks that were “too big to fail”? I’m no Bernie Sanders fan, but any business that’s too big to fail is too big to exist. Freedom to fail is also a freedom.

      • cadiyn May 21, 2021, 9:39 am

        Amen!!

    • Jerry Jones May 21, 2021, 8:50 am

      Leftist Loons (Democrats) all seem to forget that Public Officials, when sworn in to Office, take an Oath to “Obey and Protect” the Constitution……you know, that pesky document that Limits the Power of Government over “We the People”

    • Thoughtful May 21, 2021, 10:07 am

      Say Blue Dog(leftist shill) it’s not “virtue signaling” when banks( which the government has in effect used to circumvent Right of Privacy) institute policies that harm perfectly legal and Constitutionally protected freedoms. That is a violation of the Constitution…….get it?

    • perlcat May 21, 2021, 4:50 pm

      I know you lefties are all triggered by the existence of success, but in the case of mega-banks, they are de facto extensions of the government, and their restriction on constitutional rights has the imprimatur and blessings of the government, and this is an actual situation where you actually should be concerned, even though they are saying and doing things that you are okay with.

      You guys used to care about government oppression, here is a clear case of it, and you side with the oppressors.

    • KimberproSS May 28, 2021, 2:28 pm

      It has nothing to do with moral values with the state, it is a right of a USA citizen that the public sector in Texas is defending from a Virtue signally private sector behemoth that is choosing to use their monetary power to unfairly cripple a private sector industry.

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