DOJ reverses Obama-era program that targeted credit for gun dealers

The Justice Department is ending a controversial Obama-era program that discouraged banks from offering credit to certain businesses, including gun dealers.

In a letter dated Aug. 16, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called ‘Operation Choke Point’ a “misguided initiative” and said it’s no longer in effect.

The program, launched under former Attorney General Eric Holder, attempted to cut off credit to “high risk” customers, including short-term lenders and firearms dealers. Critics said it hurt legitimate businesses.

“We share your view that law abiding businesses should not be targeted simply for operating in an industry that a particular administration might disfavor,” Boyd wrote in his letter. “Enforcement decisions should always be made based on the facts and the applicable law.”

The letter was a response to five Republican lawmakers who wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others asking that the program be rescinded.

“Operation Choke Point was an Obama Administration initiative that destroyed legitimate businesses to which that Administration was ideologically opposed (e.g., firearms dealers) by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and the other GOP lawmakers in the letter.

They said they convened a roundtable discussion in June with people affected by the program. One veteran and former law enforcement professional “described how the bank came to him and said that, the government ‘came in like a bunch of thugs’ and pressured them to stop serving his small firearms business.”

The man’s business ended up failing, according to the lawmakers. “He concluded, on the verge of tears, by stating that there was ‘no fix’ for what happened to him.”

Still, Karl Frisch, a Democratic strategist, and the executive director at Wall Street watchdog group Allied Progress slammed the decision, saying it’s “a massive giveaway to predatory payday lenders and other shady financial scam-artists.

“Operation Choke Point has been incredibly effective at cracking down on the flow of money to fraudulent merchants that violate the law and target vulnerable consumers,” Frisch said.

Read More On:

Latest Reviews

  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Kilo 3000 BDX Binos

    Featuring the company's BDX technology, the Kilo 3000 sits at the tops of Sig Sauer’s optics line bringing binoculars and laser rangefinders into one unit. 

    Read More
  • Scope Review: Leupold VX-3i CDS-ZL

    The new-for-2020, VX-3i CDS-ZL riflescope, is an American-made optic that can be customized for your exact specifications, is easy to use and is backed with a Lifetime Guarantee.

    Read More