Louisiana Bill Hits Anti-2A Companies Where It Hurts: Their Bottom Line

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

The Louisiana State Bond Commission already has a rule in place requiring bidders to not engage in any anti-2A activities that block gun-related businesses from doing business with them, but now the state legislature is looking to adopt a broader policy that would preclude any anti-gun corporations from doing business with both the state and local government entities. 

The Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on SB 234 on Monday, but deferred a vote on the bill until a future committee hearing. Gun owners, including bill sponsor Sen. Blake Miguez, say the measure is necessary to ensure that gun-related businesses aren't being discriminated against.

“Citizens should not be compelled by their government to fund gun control,” Miguez said.  

The proposal defines “firearm entity” as any business that manufactures, distributes, supplies or sells guns, gun accessories, ammunition or shooter training, and it considers a “firearm trade association” as virtually any pro-gun group. It qualifies discrimination as the act of refusing to do business based solely on the entity’s status as a firearm entity or trade association. 

Testifying in support of the bill, the National Shooting Sport Foundation’s Darren LaSorte told the committee large corporations that provide essential services “are trying to starve us of essential services and ultimately destroy us.”

In the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school in 2018, several large corporations — including Citigroup, Bank of America and Walmart — adopted policies to limit their business with gun retailers that don’t adopt simple measures such as performing background checks or prohibiting gun sales to people under 21. 

... Joe Gendron, a lobbyist for the Louisiana Bankers Association, told the committee his organization is concerned with how the measure would be enforced. Miguez has proposed an amendment that would authorize the state attorney general or any local district attorney to void any contracts deemed to be in violation and sue the violating companies for fraud, breach of contract or on any other legal grounds.  

“We do have some concerns about that — putting one person … just to be able to unilaterally make that decision and actually void a contract,” Gendron said. “It’s one thing to not enter a contract. It’s one thing to not renew a contract, but to have one person that can just say, ‘This is null and void by my reading,’ we are concerned about.”

Well, it wouldn't just be one person. There are 64 parishes in the state, so that means there'd be 65 individuals who could void any contract involving a company that discriminates against the firearms industry. And the denial wouldn't be based on subjective standards. There's a clear bright line between what is acceptable and what is not allowed, so the affected companies shouldn't have any problem figuring out if they're eligible for state or local contracts. 

There is one tweak that I'd like to see, however. As the bill is currently written, companies would have to refuse to do business with "firearm entities" because of what they sell, but they'd still be free and clear to require companies to adopt policies or standards that go beyond state and federal law. That's also a form of discrimination, but it wouldn't be covered under SB 234, at least in its current form. I'd like to see "discrimination" defined to include any mandate that requires firearm entities to "voluntarily" adopt gun control restrictions above local, state, and federal law before they can do business with these financial institutions. 

Still, even as written the bill is a big step in the right direction, and would likely cause at least some CEOs to think twice before using their position to push for private sector gun controls. If they want to do so that's on them, but there will be consequences to their bottom line if they want to engage in corporate activism against our fundamental civil rights.