The aftermath of the Parkland shooting has taught us lessons, none more important than the need to stand up to Second Amendment shaming. But it also has shown us that a new threat is emerging to our rights – one that will require some of our traditional tools.
The “Boycott the NRA” push launched by Hollywood and Bloomberg’s “Moms Demand Action” group has seen some success. Now, I doubt NRA members joined to get a discount on car rentals or insurance, but the real threat was Bank of America’s announcement that they were going to “review” ties with gun manufacturers that make certain semi-automatic firearms.
This threat is perhaps one of the more insidious threats to the Second Amendment we’ve faced, on par with the time big-city mayors teamed up with trial lawyers to sue firearms manufacturers into submission, if not worse. The fact is, if banks decide not to host accounts by firearms manufacturers who make America’s most popular rifle, or worse, refuse to process credit card transactions, it doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court says.
The New York Times recently fawned over some new payment technologies, like Square, Apple Pay, and PayPal, which do not process firearms transactions. In short, as these new technologies emerge, and in some cases, displace older means of paying, the Second Amendment becomes a dead letter. You’d need cash on hand to buy a gun to protect yourself – and who carries the $1,000 or so needed for a good modern sporting rifle? It is no different than Operation Choke Point, only this time, the mover isn’t Eric Holder.
How do we address this? Part of the answer is going to be effective grassroots action. Politely urge these companies being targeted by anti-Second Amendment activists to think carefully – and show them how the decision by some companies to end relationships with the NRA hurt their public perception. Stand by companies like Roku and FedEx that have not terminated their relationships. Loyalty is a two-way street – and when executive see this, they will be more willing to ride out a PR storm.
Second, and on the flip side, is to urge other companies taking anti-Second Amendment action to reconsider. REI, for instance, needs to be told that its Second Amendment shaming of Savage Arms is going to cost it our business. Politely contacting the parent company of Savage to express your support would also help. Maybe what happened to Delta’s tax break in Georgia will help as well in this regard. Georgia lieutenant governor Casey Cagle’s stand is one that should be remembered by Second Amendment supporters with appreciation. Business owners who use Square, Stripe, or Apple Pay, should look into competitors and find one that is more Second Amendment-friendly, then switch and explain why to both the company they left and the company they switched to.
That takes us to the third part of the answer. The fact is, some corporate executives are being tempted to take political sides, often to the detriment of our Second Amendment rights. When it comes to key parts of the infrastructure, it may be time to look into passing legislation that prohibits banks and financial service companies from discriminating against customers on the basis of political viewpoint and from refusing to process transactions involving legal products. Yes, this is a nuclear option of sorts, but the alternative is to see the Second Amendment nullified by corporate collusion. No, I’m not thrilled with these new rules, but it does us no good to pretend that this is now just a fight in the political arena. This is now a fight that will take place in corporate offices.
That just addresses the threat in the short and medium terms. The long-term answer will come from two sources: One is innovation and entrepreneurship that builds up Second Amendment-friendly businesses to compete in the areas of mobile payment processing. The second will be for young supporters of the Second Amendment who are inclined to a career in finance or business to work their way up the corporate ladder at places like Bank of America or Visa or PayPal. Did you know the CEO of Walmart started out as a regular associate? Similar stories abound through corporate America.
The threat to the Second Amendment posed by big business is very real. That said, like past threats, it is addressable. It’s just going to take the same determination and many of the same skills that are used to protect the Second Amendment in the political arena.