Part of the reason our society has worked historically is that people from divergent interests often have to work together for a common goal. We may not always agree on how to do it, but we tend to agree on what needs to be done and can often find common ground to accomplish that goal.
But these days, it doesn’t work like that all that often, and what we’re seeing with the gun industry is an example of just how it may keep getting worse.
Let’s start this discussion by looking at something posted over at America’s First Freedom about the “financial war” being waged on our Second Amendment rights.
First came the Clinton administration-era lawsuits. And gun makers were almost bled dry. Until the PLCAA was passed and signed by President George W. Bush in 2005. Then came the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point in 2013. And the financial-services sector was used to strangle gun makers and dealers. Until the Trump administration ended that policy. Now has come ESG and the Biden administration’s war on gun makers and dealers. And what’s to come of all of this?
In the last days of the Trump administration, on Jan. 14, 2021, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) approved a new rule called “Fair Access to Bank Services, Capital and Credit.”
According to the OCC press announcement at the time: “[T]he rule codifies more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should conduct risk assessment of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers, when provisioning access to services, capital, and credit. …” The press release also said this rule should assure “fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers.”
The rule was written to apply to the largest banks—those with more than $100 billion in assets—but then, on Jan. 28, 2021, after control of the OCC was turned over from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, the OCC announced that the fairness rule would be left in place, but not published to the Federal Register; therefore, it would not be official law until the new administration completed a review of the rule.
An original April 1, 2021, enforcement date of the rule came and went. In the almost two years since, the possibility of financial discrimination against politically undesirable industries, including the firearms industry, oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy, as well as other industries like tobacco and incarceration, have continued.
Most recently, private-sector ESG (environmental, social, governance) policies have been used by major companies, such as BlackRock, which is an investment company that manages around $10 trillion, to shun “politically incorrect” industries much like “Operation Choke Point” had once been designed to do.
It’s a longish post, but it’s worth a read.
However, I don’t think these entities, be they governmental or private, have really thought things through.
See, as things stand, many people are willing to overlook what’s happening to the gun industry because of a number of factors. From the left, of course, they celebrate it because guns are evil, generally speaking. Some of the more libertarian-minded don’t like the government hurting a disfavored but legal industry, but figure private industry can do what they want. Then there are those who just don’t care enough to make a stand of any sort on the topic.
That’s most people, if we’re honest.
But doing that is a terrible idea. Oh, it sounds good until one day you wake up and realize the gun industry has adapted to all the roadblocks you’ve thrown up and done so to such an extent that they’ve helped develop a parallel economy.
See, if the government is going to continue throwing up hurdles, people are going to figure out a way around those hurdles. A prime example is TUSC. It’s a cryptocurrency developed specifically for the gun industry. Cryptocurrency is one of those things that I don’t even pretend to understand, but what I do get is that it provides an alternative pathway for payments that completely bypass traditional banking. As such, it also bypasses attempts at banking regulation and banks’ attempts to throttle the gun industry.
Yet as the infrastructure for such things continues to develop, the need for traditional banking will decrease, as will their ability to dictate what we can and can’t do.
The gun industry won’t need to develop new ways to sidestep attempts at throttling because those of us in the gun community will be more than happy to do it for them.
The problem is that once such abilities exist and become even more widespread and useful, the government’s ability to do all kinds of other things it relies on evaporates. Taxing, for example, becomes incredibly problematic. Cutting off funding for terrorists or criminals also becomes problematic.
Further, because the need to create a parallel economy will drive the creation and growth of such an economy, it means Americans will further divide.
As it stands, we have strong political divisions in this country, but because we’re essentially part of the same society. We still tend to shop at the same stores, use the same banks, and so on.
Yet as the need to grow a separate economy so we can conduct lawful business continues, don’t be surprised if separate stores and other entities pop up to help fuel that growth. Imagine two different Amazons or Walmarts. Oh, the named might be different, but they’ll cater to different economies.
And as a result, we divide more and more because we have less and less in common.
As bad as things are now with relations between the two sides, what would it be like if we shared even less?
Yes, that sounds extreme, but whatever gets developed to keep the gun industry going won’t remain with just the gun industry; and that’s assuming we develop new technologies and economic pathways for them rather than repurpose something already existing.
Some think they want to go down this road. They only think that, though. If they knew where this could end, they’d disabuse themselves of that idea in a hurry.