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|Read the Kelsey Harkness Column at the Heritage Daily Signal|
The stories of two businessmen who recently were denied banking services because they sell firearms suggest a secretive government program called Operation Choke Point still affects industries across the nation that the Obama administration considered undesirable.
In one case, a large bank in New England denied a line of credit to a former police officer who started a gun and tactical business in Monroe, Conn., saying it “no longer lends to firearms dealers.”
In the other case, a branch of a North Carolina bank refused to set up a new payment service for a firearms seller in Tryon, N.C., because of the nature of his industry, the business owner said.
The Daily Signal talked to both businessmen, who say they are being punished for their line of work despite efforts in Congress to end discrimination by banks against gun sellers.
Some experts believe that banks’ decision not to do business with gun sellers stems from Operation Choke Point, a Justice Department program that, according to government officials, aimed to “attack Internet, telemarketing, mail, and other mass market fraud against consumers, by choking fraudsters’ access to the banking system.”
Critics of the program say it was used to put the financial squeeze on entire industries the Obama administration doesn’t like, such as firearms sellers and payday lenders.
“It is increasingly clear that the effects from Operation Choke Point are continuing to be felt, even if the administration has told Congress it has backed off from this campaign,” Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, one of the nation’s leading lobbying firms for the gun industry, told The Daily Signal.
‘It Came Back Denied’
Rich Sprandel, an 18-year police veteran, had to retire in 2011 from the force in Seymour, Conn., after being hit by a drunk driver while on duty in his patrol car. Sprandel, who is married and has two children, opened an online firearms and tactical business.
“I have a retirement pension, but it’s not 100 percent of my pay, so I need to make a living to support my family,” Sprandel, 48, who owns Blue Line Firearms & Tactical in Monroe, Conn., said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
On March 7, he got a voicemail message from a vice president at People’s United Bank in Fairfield, Conn., regarding . . . Read more from Kelsey Harkness
Follow Kelsey at @kelseyjharkness or send an email
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