In response to banking institutions that have imposed policies against business related to the firearms industry in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Florida earlier in the year, Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy proposed legislation prior the recess that would prohibit the federal government from granting contracts to banks that discriminate against lawful businesses and based only on social policy considerations.
The bill dropped just weeks before a court documents from a lawsuit advanced by payday lenders four years ago, revealed e-mails about the how the Obama administration planned out the now defunct Operation Choke Point—a campaign led by the FDIC that pressured banks to terminate their relationships with industries disfavored by the administration.
A member of the Senate Banking Committee, Kennedy says this bill should certify that “like Citigroup and Bank of America, which enacted policies infringing on the Second Amendment rights of businesses, will not be awarded lucrative federal government contracts.”
The No Red and Blue Banks Act comes on the heels of a March 22 announcement made by Citigroup which outlined firearms related requirements of its banking clients. This includes telling businesses as to what types of legal firearms and accessories they can sell and who they can legally sell to.
On April 10, Bank of America similarly announced that it would no longer give loans to businesses that manufactured semi-automatic rifles.
“Targeting firearms owners and business owners is not only an affront to responsible gun owners across this country; it’s a threat to the sanctity of our Constitution and the Second Amendment,” Kennedy said before the Committee earlier in the month.
He went on to say,“Citigroup and Bank of America have decided to make banking a red versus blue issue by trampling on the Second Amendment rights of small business owners. And if additional big consumer banks come out with similar anti-gun policies, it will get harder and harder for businesses in Louisiana and elsewhere to find banking services. We’ll have red banks and blue banks.”
He added, “I want to make sure that the federal government isn’t rewarding this behavior with even more taxpayer dollars. I have already petitioned the General Services Administration to cancel the federal government’s $700 billion contract with Citigroup.”
Kennedy’s bill may be considered when the upper chamber returns in mid-November after the Congressional elections.