The gun industry is facing a new fight over financing for firearms.
Gun companies have long struggled to obtain and keep banking services in place despite government pressure in the form of Operation Chokepoint and private pressure from big banks refusing to work with them. But now, gun buyers are facing pressure too. Gun-control advocates convinced the organization that oversees credit card merchant codes to create one for gun stores in hopes of flagging "suspicious" transactions for law enforcement.
So, we have Larry Keane on to tell us how the industry is handling the change. He is the Senior Vice President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents gun makers and dealers. They are the literal gun lobby.
Keane said the change is part of a larger plan to try and surveil gun owners. He said the goal is to restrict the ability of Americans to buy guns.
He said the code change alone is unlikely to significantly change how things work because the credit card companies are resisting flagging sales based on it. However, he said the goal is to not only track sales by merchant code but to reform the system to allow credit card companies to see every individual product somebody buys. That would effectively allow them to track, report, and block any gun sale to anyone in the country.
Advocates for the code change argue it could be used to identify patterns that indicate they may be planning a mass shooting. Keane said that's not realistic. He argued nobody has identified any discernable buying actions that reliably set them apart from the millions of Americans who buy guns every year.
He also talked about the industry slowdown that's started to show up in major companies' earnings reports. The two publicly-traded gun makers, Smith & Wesson and Ruger, saw huge dropoffs in revenue and profit. Keane said the downturn was to be expected after two years of record sales, and he isn't terribly concerned about it.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman explains Dick Heller's latest win over DC's gun restrictions.