Saturday, 21 June 2014

Rand Paul Protects Guns, Ammo From Obama's Operation Choke Point

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Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filed legislation Thursday to prevent the Obama administration from making an “end run” around the Second Amendment and threatening the financial security of gun and ammunition manufacturers.

The Daily Caller reports, "Paul is seeking to amend the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for the 2015 budget to prevent any funds given to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or Department of Justice (DOJ) from targeting gun and ammunition companies."

Specifically, Paul’s amendment would prohibit:

(1) any action by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to classify the sale or manufacture of a firearm or ammunition as an activity involving risk; or

(2) any action by the Department of Justice to discourage the provision or continuation of credit or the processing of payments by any financial institution to a manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms or ammunition, based on the fact that the business is a manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms or ammunition.

A source inside Paul’s office told The Daily Caller that the freshman senator’s amendment was aimed at protecting firearms and ammunition manufacturers and dealers from the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point.

The blog Ammoland provides a quick synopsis of Choke Point:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), at the behest of Barack Obama, has declared that gun stores are “high risk” businesses. “High risk” businesses have been, up until now, a small category of supposedly disreputable businesses, which have included pornographers, sellers of drug paraphernalia, and payday lenders.

The second step in the process is Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point.” And its function is specifically to choke off any credit or credit card processing for businesses (now including gun dealers) who fall in the “high risk” category.

Already, scores of gun dealers have complained that their banks have cut their credit or otherwise put pressure on them.

The Daily Caller adds additional insight into the president’s sneak attack on the right to keep and bear arms.

Officials at the FDIC have stated that Operation Choke Point is a DOJ program, though a House committee recently revealed documents that indicated that the FDIC has helped DOJ with the initiative.

FDIC has labeled around 30 industries, including gun and ammunition dealers, as “high-risk.” Coin dealing, payday lending, and adult entertainment are also considered “high-risk.”

Fearing “reputational risk,” some banks have reportedly cut off ties with companies in such industries.

At best, according to its critics, Operation Choke Point has the unintended consequence of causing banks to stop doing business with the “high-risk” companies. At worst, the critics maintain, the initiative is designed to harm companies in industries that the Obama administration has deemed objectionable.

Operation Choke Point is not President Obama’s first or only surreptitious assault on the God-given rights protected by the Second Amendment.

In December 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced a lead smelter to close. In shuttering this plant, the Obama administration has taken yet another unconstitutional step — one that will severely impinge on the nation's ammunition manufacturing capability. Why would the Doe Run Company, the owners of the Missouri lead smelting facility, agree to being run out of business by the EPA? One word: extortion.

In a document published late last year on its website, the EPA explained that in order for Doe Run to continue its operations, the company would have to agree to pay “$65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri. The settlement also requires the company to pay a $7 million civil penalty.”

In a statement to the press issued last year, Doe Run said the fine and the required upgrades to its facilities were “too financially risky.”

The effect on the right to keep and bear arms is obvious. As explained by the National Rifle Association (NRA):

The Herculaneum smelter is currently the only smelter in the United States which can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore that is mined nearby in Missouri’s extensive lead deposits, giving the smelter its “primary” designation. The lead bullion produced in Herculaneum is then sold to lead product producers, including ammunition manufacturers for use in conventional ammunition components such as projectiles, projectile cores, and primers. Several “secondary” smelters, where lead is recycled from products such as lead acid batteries or spent ammunition components, still operate in the United States.

Without ammunition, a gun is just a club. The government knows this, and in light of the ongoing project of arming federal agencies to the teeth with millions of rounds of ammunition and military-grade weapons and vehicles, the EPA’s closing of the Doe Run plant, although not a direct assault on the right to keep and bear arms, can be seen as another step toward civilian disarmament. 

To date, no other news agency has connected this dot to the Operation Choke Point dot and the others in the overall Obama plan to leave Americans without weapons and ammunition.

As The New American reported June 19:

This week, delegates from around the world have congregated at the United Nations headquarters to discuss ways to finally implement the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (POA), the second arm of the UN’s pincer strategy aimed at disarming civilians in the United States and all the UN member nations.

According to the text of the latest draft of the agreement, the POA will serve as an “international instrument to enable states to identify and trace, in a timely and reliable manner” the small arms and light weapons that are the target of the scheme.

In practice, this means that the governments of member nations (including the United States) should create a massive, all-inclusive database of all parties that manufacture, own, sell, trade, or transfer arms and ammunition.

The second arm of the UN/Obama anti-gun pincer strategy is the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The ATT is so offensive to the preservation of the right to keep and bear arms, it is an understatement to call it unconstitutional. As The New American has reported, several provisions of this treaty significantly diminish the scope of this basic right.

Connect these dots and the picture gets clearer: The Obama administration will stop at nothing to absolutely abolish the right of the people to keep and bear arms. 

The means to this end are mounting: first, the flurry of executive orders unconstitutionally infringing on that right; second, the signing of a UN treaty explicitly calling for the disarmament of civilians, including the restriction on the purchase of ammunition; third, although the shutdown of domestic lead smelting capacity does not signal the end of domestic production of ammunition, it does indirectly force Americans to turn to fellow members of the unconstitutional sovereignty-stealing Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as to communist China for a key component of ammunition manufacturing; fourth, and perhaps most effective in the short term, is Operation Choke Point and the corresponding financial freeze-out that is decimating the firearm and ammunition industries.

Senator Paul’s amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act will likely be considered on Tuesday and if it becomes law, it would at least erase the latest of the dots that if finally connected, will separate the fundamental right to keep and bear arms from the protection of the Second Amendment.

Photo of Sen. Rand Paul: AP Images

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues.  Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at

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