President Donald Trump’s Justice Department just did away with “Operation Choke Point,” an Obama-era regulatory scheme designed to make it difficult for firearm and ammunition manufacturers and sellers to maintain business relationships with financial institutions.
“All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a statement announcing the end of the program.
Operation Choke Point placed gun dealers – especially small mom-and-pop operations – in the same company as pornographers, sweepstake scammers and short-term loan sharks when it comes to setting up a bank account or merchant service agreement to accept card-based payment.
On top of that, banks were even clamping down on gun dealers following a 2011 warning by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that takes aim at the firearms trade as a “high-risk” business category.
GOP lawmakers and 2nd Amendment organizations applauded the Trump administration move to dissolve the operation.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and a group of other Republicans said in a statement: “We applaud the Trump Justice Department for decisively ending Operation Choke Point. The Obama Administration created this ill-advised program to suffocate legitimate businesses to which it was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses.”
The National Rifle Association also weighed in.
“On behalf of the NRA’s five-million members, I want to thank President Trump and Attorney General Sessions for ending ‘Operation Choke Point’,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “President Obama’s blatant attempt to misuse banking laws to destroy small firearm businesses was unconscionable. We appreciate the Trump administration’s commitment to end it once and for all.”