Blair Gladwin, owner of the California based Gladwin Guns and Ammo, filed three class action lawsuits last week against online payment processors PayPal, Stripe, and Square for singling out him and other firearms businesses.
The payment companies required Gladwin and the other owners to reveal the nature of their dealings — after which the payment companies refused to work with them.
Gladwin claims this type of discrimination is a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act Sections 51, 52(a) and 52(c), a law that protects federally-licensed gun stores from such refusals of business transactions.
The class action lawsuits, according to a press statement, are on behalf of himself and all federal firearms dealers who were barred from starting an account or had an account terminated by a payment processor because of the type of business they ran.
The lawsuits follow legislation recently introduced on Capitol Hill intended to roll back Obama era regulation known as “Operation Chokepoint” that pressured large banking institutions to terminate or refuse to do business with merchants that fell out of political favor with the Obama administration.
Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee met with various businesses deleteriously affected by that regulation Thursday.
Gladwin’s attorney William McGrane told The Daily Caller Friday that, “the very large non-bank defendants in these cases are allowing their private sense of political correctness to extend so far as to ban even persons who hold valid federal firearms licenses from accepting Electronic Funds Transfers, all in defiance of the Second Amendment to the federal Constitution and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act of 1978.”
“The net effect of what they are doing is making the legitimate business of selling firearms operate as a cash business only, all in a misguided effort to effectively ban the sale of firearms and related products from the marketplace.”
Gladwin requested the court for a public injunction requiring PayPal, Stripe, and Square to stop violating the Unruh Act and to begin allowing firearms merchants to use their payment processors to enable the legal buying and selling of firearms — “a total award to class members of no less than $5 million (per company/class action lawsuit), and attorney fees.”
PayPal, founded and once owned by staunch libertarian Peter Thiel, prohibits all account holders from buying or selling any type of firearm and certain firearm parts and ammunition.
When asked by The Daily Caller last year about his thoughts on his former company’s policy, Thiel responded, “They wouldn’t be doing that if I was still running it.”