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Long Island Gun Show 2016
September 17 & 18, 2016
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The Long Island Gun Show
March 14-15, 2015
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It is official. 2015 is the year that progressives will make an all-out push to quash the Second Amendment and disarm the American people. I have been reporting on my blog for the last several years about the ground work that has been laid including the escalating efforts to disarm our veterans, the issuing of illegal Executive Orders by Obama to limit gun rights, the movement to get individual states to pass and enforce unconstitutional limits on gun ownership, and the signing of the UN Small Arms treaty.
Now they are ready to make their move and I predict it will consist of a number of assaults on the American people. In fact, some of them are already in the works:
- The DOJ is floating the claim that the UN Small Arms Treaty is now the law of the land despite the fact that it has never been submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification by a two thirds majority as required by the U. S. Constitution. This means that Obama plans to enforce the provisions of the treaty without ratification and despite the fact that in 1957 the Supreme Court ruled that no treaty, even if signed by the President and ratified by the Senate can override the protection of individual rights guaranteed to Americans in the Constitution.
- Obama’s enforcement of the UN treaty will include prohibiting the importation of firearms or replacement parts from other countries into the U.S, and providing a list to the UN of all American gun owners, importers, and exporters. In order to legally facilitate this, Congress would have to repeal the ban on funding of a national gun registration. However, I believe Obama plans on doing this by another illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order.
- To continue and escalate the effort to disarm American veterans. The private medical records of veterans are being turned over illegally to the FBI so that they can be put on the NICS list of people who cannot legally purchase firearms because of mental illness. However, mental illness of these veterans is based on minor PTSD, suffering from minor depression, or even letting their spouses pay the family bills. There is no adjudication of mental illness to the point of being a danger to themselves or others as required by law.
- Veterans are also being required to tell the VA if they own firearms, how they feel about the federal government and/or the Obama administration and in some cases forced to submit to a strip search to determine if they have any “radical tattoos”. No definition of what constitutes a radical tattoo is provided.
- Obama has by an illegal and unconstitutional amendment to the Affordable Care Act overridden the prohibition on doctors to question their patients about gun ownership. Obama has called on pediatricians to question children about whether their parents have a gun in their home. Just recently I have also learned that seniors newly enrolling in Medicare are being required, when they go to a doctor for a routine physical, to take a test to determine if they are showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The questions include repeating a sequence of numbers and letters and other memory type questions and then there is the question about whether they own a firearm. Obviously, this information is then sent to the Federal government.
- Obama has also issued an Executive order that is being enforced by new HHS regulations that virtually set aside the HIPP law that protects the privacy of medical records. Under these new regulations, if your records contain anything indicating you have ever been depressed, had PTSD or taken certain medications your records will be turned over to the FBI and you will be put on the NICS list. This will apply to everyone, not just veterans.
- Obama also has the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms changing the definition of mental illness to provide that anyone can be declared mentally ill to the point of being a danger to themselves or others for any reason without an adjudication of any kind, and therefore can be prohibited from owning firearms. This is already happening in states like New York that have adopted similar laws and regulations. A citizen of New York has been declared mentally ill and had his guns seized because he was seeking treatment for insomnia.
- In the meantime, we have a Republican Senator casting the deciding vote to confirm Obama’s appointment of a Surgeon General who believes that gun ownership constitutes a health threat. We have the EPA moving to control the manufacture of ammunition because it claims that the use of lead in ammo produces a threat to the environment.
- The Department of Justice will continue its campaign to force banks to deny loans and even bank accounts to firearms dealers and will continue to harass them in other ways to force them out of business.
In other words, multiple resources of the Federal Government and some state governments are going to be used to take our firearms, but we can and must fight back. As the Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (www.usjf.net) I plan on taking the following actions to:
- Contact members of the U.S. Senate and urge them to refile the “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act” that will stop the efforts of the VA to disarm America’s heroes. This law was previously defeated by Democrats in the Senate.
- Continue our representation of individual veterans in their fights to reverse declarations that they are incompetent to handle their own financial affairs and cannot own firearms. We have won some recent victories in this effort.
- File suits against the VA, FBI, DHS, and DOD to force them to comply with our Freedom of Information Act requests to gain documents about the attacks on veterans by these agencies.
- Continue our involvement in lawsuits against states that are implementing and enforcing unconstitutional gun control laws.
- Offer our support to any members of Congress who file suit against Obama to stop his use of illegal Executive Orders to implement gun control and other unconstitutional actions.
- Continue to support the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) in their efforts to recruit law enforcement leaders around the country to pledge that they will not allow unconstitutional laws or regulations to be enforced in their jurisdictions.
Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales.
Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks’ customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as “high risk” along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories.
“This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent ‘reputational risk’ to do business with,” said Peter Weinstock, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams LLP. “So financial institutions are reacting to this extraordinary enforcement arsenal by being ultra-conservative in who they do business with: Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped.”
A Justice Department representative said the agency is conducting several investigations that aim to hold accountable banks “who are knowingly assisting fraudulent merchants who harm consumers.”
“We’re committed to ensuring that our efforts to combat fraud do not discourage or inhibit the lawful conduct of these honest merchants,” the Justice Department said in a May 7 blog post.
But gun retailers say their businesses are being targeted in the executive branch’s efforts:
• T.R. Liberti, owner and operator of Top Gun Firearms Training & Supply in Miami, has felt the sting firsthand. Last month, his local bank, BankUnited N.A., dumped his online business from its service.
An explanatory email from the bank said: “This letter in no way reflects any derogatory reasons for such action on your behalf. But rather one of industry. Unfortunately your company’s line of business is not commensurate with the industries we work with.”
• Black Rifle Armory in Henderson, Nevada, had its bank accounts frozen this month as the bank tried to determine whether any of Black Rifle’s online transactions were suspicious.
• In 2012, Bank of America suddenly dropped the 12-year account of McMillan Group International, a gun manufacturer in Phoenix, even though the company had a good credit history, the owner said. Gun parts maker American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale, Arizona, received similar treatment by Bank of America, the country’s largest banking institution.
“This seems to be happening with greater frequency and to many more dealers,” said Joe Sirochman, owner of American Spirit Arms. “At first, it was the bigger guys — gun parts manufacturers or high-profile retailers. Now the smaller mom-and-pop shops are being choked out, and they need their cash to buy inventory. Freezing their assets will put them out of business.”
Choking off access to banks
After McMillan Group owner Kelly McMillan publicized Bank of America’s action on his Facebook account, he found that thousands of small gun-shop owners across the country were in the same situation. Banks were either dropping them, freezing their accounts or refusing to process their online sales, so he opened a credit card processing company for the gun industry called McMillan Merchant Solutions.
“Four generations of my family have been in this industry. This is my way to give back,” said Mr. McMillan, adding that many of his customers were denied banking access because of the nature of their business. “This is an attempt by the federal government to keep people from buying guns and a way for them to combat the Second Amendment rights we have. It’s a covert way for them to control our right to manufacture guns and individuals to buy guns.”
BankUnited N.A., which dropped Top Gun Firearms Training & Supply in Miami from its customer list, declined to comment.
In a statement to The Washington Times, Bank of America said: “We would not deny banking services to an organization solely on the basis of its industry.”
The banking giant blamed a misunderstanding with the Arizona gun manufacturers McMillan Group International and American Spirit Arms.
However, the American Banking Association, the industry’s advocacy group in Washington, said businesses deemed “risky” will be frozen out of the financial system if the Justice Department continues Operation Choke Point because the regulatory burden and risk of investigation will be too great for less-specialized banks to bear.
“We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions,” Richard Riese, a senior vice president at the American Bankers Association, said in the April 28 issue of American Banker. “All of this is predicated on a notion that the banks are a choke point for all businesses.”
In an interview with The Times, Mr. Riese said the cost of doing business with gun retailers outweighs the benefits for some banks, given that regulators deem the industry as “risky,” state laws vary on the sale of guns and ammunition, and the Justice Department’s enforcement.
The Independent Community Bankers of America, an association for small banks, said enforcement actions from the Justice Department are too broad and overly aggressive.
“While preventing fraud is a top concern for community banks, it needs to be balanced with ensuring that businesses and consumers that operate in accordance with applicable laws can still access payment systems,” bankers association President Camden Fine told the Justice Department in an April 7 letter. “ICBA requests that the DOJ suspend Operation Choke Point immediately and focus its resources directly on businesses that may be violating the law, rather than targeting banks providing payment services.”
Justice’s operation threatens to “close access to the financial system to law-abiding businesses, because the mere prospect of an enforcement action is sufficient to cause financial institutions to restrict access to their payment systems to only established companies that present low risks,” the organization said.
‘No statutory authority’
Regulations on the financial industry have increased over the past few years, said Thomas P. Vartanian, chairman of Dechert LLP, a global law firm specializing in regulatory and financial matters.
He noted the chilling effect of overregulation by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an interagency behemoth that includes the departments of Commerce, Justice, Labor, Education, Homeland Security and Justice along with the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Secret Service, the FBI, the Social Security Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.
“The key to effective regulation is the balancing between too little and too much regulation,” Mr. Vartanian said. “The problem here is that there are now so many regulators, including the Department of Justice, with their fingers on the scales on that balancing act.”
Congressional Republicans say the Obama administration is using its regulatory powers to shutter industries it doesn’t like. Last year, 31 Republicans accused the Justice Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. of intimidating banks and payment processors to “terminate business relationships with lawful lenders.”
In a March hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee on consumer protection, Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, complained that several payday lenders — another industry labeled “risky” by the administration — were being dropped by their banks in his home state.
“There is a determined effort from [the Justice Department] to the regulators to cut off credit and use other tactics to force [payday lenders] out of business,” Mr. Vitter said. “I find that deeply troubling because it has no statutory basis, no statutory authority.”
In a House hearing in April, FDIC acting General Counsel Richard Osterman defended his agency’s definition of what constitutes a “risky” business — subject to money laundering or other criminal behavior — but made it clear that no bank is outright prohibited from serving any such companies.
“We have actually put out a policy statement on this issue to make it very clear from the very top that as long as financial institutions are properly managing their relationships and the risks, they’re neither prohibited nor discouraged from providing these services,” Mr. Osterman said.
“Basically, what we’re saying is, these types of programs can be, can involve high-risk activities that could create litigation risk and reputation risk for financial institutions,” he said. “So, they need to do due diligence to ensure that the folks who they’re banking are acting in a safe and sound manner.”
But the cost of that due diligence, coupled with the threat of a lawsuit for doing business with a customer in an industry the government has defined as risky, is having a chilling effect on legitimate companies such as gun dealers, said Mr. Weinstock, the Hunton & Williams lawyer.
“We are one of the most heavily regulated industries in America,” said Mr. Sirochman of American Spirit Arms. “We have to ship our guns to another federal licensed dealers for pickup. The people that are picking up the rifles have to go through a background check to make sure they don’t have any felonies. You can’t own a gun or pass the background check if you do.
“All this is, is an assault on our Second Amendment rights.”
By Kelly Riddell The Washington Times