AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File
Over the last year, a number of banks decided it’s up to them to regulate the firearm industry. They’ve issued rules that retailers have to abide by or find their banking services cut off, sometimes with disastrous results. The rules were made unilaterally, with no negotiation from gun sellers and no input from the firearm industry.
Now, the CEO of Citigroup, one of the entities that have pushed for these rules, claims that there’s no threat to the Second Amendment from his company.
“Citigroup has no business threatening law-abiding business owners for exercising their Second Amendment rights,” Danhof told CEO Michael Corbat and the company’s board. The attorney backed up his argument with statements from Buffett, the CEO nicknamed the “Oracle of Omaha,” who said he wouldn’t force his own Democratic viewpoints on Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate he formed that controls businesses from fast-food chain Dairy Queen to auto-insurer Geico.
“I don’t think that we should have a question on the Geico policyholder form, ‘Are you an NRA member?’” Buffett told investors at Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, in May. “And if you are, you just aren’t good enough for us or something.’ I think I do not believe in imposing my political opinions on the activities of our businesses.”
That’s not how Citi, which doesn’t include Berkshire among its investors, views its policy, Corbat told Danhof.
“We are not threatening people, and we are certainly not threatening the Second Amendment,” the CEO said, noting that customers are free to buy whatever they want with their credit and debit cards, including firearms. “What our policy seeks to do is not put restrictions on gun ownership, but really try and institute a series of best practices that have, hopefully, a chance of keeping guns out of the wrong people’s hands. We’ve worked with a number of retailers to come up with what we think some of those best practices are.”
Corbat says they worked with a number of retailers? Who?
My money is on Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, two companies who instituted these measures for varying reasons. If all retailers are forced to adopt similar practices, their thinking was that the backlash against them would fade in due course.
They didn’t talk to any mom and pop operations. I’ll put money down that Citigroup didn’t even consider getting their feedback on this.
Corbat likely went to a handful of retailers where he knew what he’d hear so he could get a rubber stamp on the plan and pretend that everything is hunky dory.
Well, it’s not.
Contrary to Corbat’s claims, the actions of his company are a threat to the Second Amendment. They’re discriminatory to boot and their “best practices” are nothing of the kind. They’re not based on sound reason and experience. They’re an anti-gun wishlist that’s nothing more than a giant virtue signal in the sky.
While Corbat is right that his company isn’t blocking the purchase of firearms, what he’s missing is that by willfully interfering with the commerce of firearms through the retailer side of the transaction, he and his company are directly impacting firearm sales. They’re dictating the terms of the sale in a way they figure fewer people will notice.
It’s extortion in a very real sense of the word. “You’re going to do what we tell you or…well, it’s a nice gun store you have here. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”
The only difference is they lose their financial services–something that would pose a significant hit to any small business–rather than burning it down. It’s mafia tactics in a little nicer business suit.