Barack Obama’s odious legacy includes one particularly evil attempt to shut down private gun ownership.

Under “Operation Choke Point”, the Justice Department used veiled threats of harassment and prosecution to bully banks and financial institutions into dropping their customers who were law-abiding gun dealers.

By cutting off access to bank accounts, the Obama administration could force America’s gun sellers out of business.

“The administration is using an anti-credit card fraud effort dubbed Operation Choke Point to go after legitimate businesses it deems ‘high-risk,’ says a staff report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,” The Washington Times reported in 2014.

“Internal Justice Department documents show that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed that small businesses were being hurt by the operation as banks dropped them and exited entire lines of business deemed ‘high-risk’ by the government, yet his department has continued to pursue the operation, the report says,” the Times reported.

“Operation Choke Point is the Justice Department’s newest abuse of power,” Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and committee chairman, said at the time.

“If the administration believes some businesses should be out of business, they should prosecute them before a judge and jury. By forcibly conscripting banks to do their bidding, the Justice Department has avoided any review and any check on their power.”

The scheme seems to have come to a halt under President Trump, but any rogue DOJ official or incoming Democrat president can resurrect it.

That’s why Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Missouri Republican, has filed the “Financial Institution Customer Protection Act”.

The bill, which passed the House in 2016 but failed to get a vote in the Senate, would “dictate that agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others, could not request or order a financial institution to terminate a banking relationship unless the regulator has material reason.

Any account termination requests or orders would be required to be made in writing and rely on information other than reputational risk.”

“Last Congress, the House of Representatives took the first step in putting an end, once and for all, to Operation Choke Point by passing my legislation,” Luetkemeyer said.

“Although there is a new Administration and Department of Justice in place, this legislation is necessary to ensure that no future Administration will have the opportunity to negatively impact individuals and legal businesses through this unprecedented initiative.

We must continue to demand greater transparency and end the practice of allowing government bureaucrats to use personal and political motivations to block financial services to licensed, legally-operating businesses.”

Not only is the bill likely to pass the House again, with the White House now in Republican hands and the threat of a veto removed, it could see a vote in the Senate.

The Trump administration can make that happen with one simple document.

A “Statement of Administration Policy” is an official public statement from the White House announcing the President’s position on proposed legislation.

Few bills receive such a statement, and as such, it is either an official endorsement of passage if made in support, or a death sentence if recommended for defeat.

Operation Choke Point was one of the most callous of Obama’s abuses of power.

Congress now has an opportunity to permanently destroy it, and President Trump can take a bold stand for gun owners by signing the “Financial Institution Customer Protection Act”.

 

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