Gun Shop Owner’s Bank Account Closed, Feds Say “High Risk” Business
BROOKSVILLE – The relationship between a small business and their financial institution is an essential bond. It’s almost unheard of for a bank to sever ties with a legitimate and profitable business unless they discover illegal activity. But that is exactly the case for one local business owner, after SunTrust Bank decided to close all his accounts due to the business no longer meeting their “criteria.”
Steve Champion, owner of American Gun & Pawn on E. Jefferson Street, received a letter from SunTrust last week, advising him of their decision. The letter states “SunTrust continuously reviews its products, markets, and client relationships… There are circumstances where we will identify a specific account relationship that no longer meets these criteria. In the best interest of our clients and SunTrust, we will request that those accounts be closed.”
Perplexed by SunTrust’s decision, Champion decided to do a little research, and it didn’t take long for him to discover a Federal Initiative called “Operation Choke Point”, aimed at what he says is an attack on gun owners and the 2nd Amendment.
In 2013, the Department of Justice began serving subpoenas to financial institutions who do business with payment processors and businesses they deem to be undesirable. The DOJ claims “Operation Choke Point” is an effort to combat money laundering operations and fraud. The FDIC even provided a list of 30 “High Risk” business types to the DOJ that are being actively pursued. Pornography, Surveillance Equipment, Racist Material, and Drug Paraphernalia join firearm and ammunition sales as “High Risk” businesses. Champion says he has done nothing wrong and that he runs a legitimate business “These big companies that infringe on our constitutional rights need to be held accountable” says Champion.
A similar incident occurred last year in South Carolina, after SunTrust severed ties with Pawn Shop Owner Morris Williams. In a recent Washington Post article, Williams says …”the government can “choke off” the oxygen (money) needed for these industries to survive. Without an ability to process payments, the businesses – especially online vendors — cannot survive.”
Many believe this is nothing more than another attempt by the Left (Liberals) and anti-gun activists to put more pressure on gun owners and limit the ability to buy and sell firearms and ammunition.
Following a Federal Investigation in January of this year, the FDIC issued this letter to Financial Institutions, “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a Financial Institution Letter today encouraging supervised institutions to take a risk-based approach in assessing individual customer relationships, rather than declining to provide banking services to entire categories of customers without regard to the risks presented by an individual customer or the financial institution’s ability to manage the risk.”
We tried to reach SunTrust for comment but they declined.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2015 Real News Real Fast, Inc.