After initially being denied access to banking services, North Carolina firearm retailer Luke Lichterman has finally received services from HomeTrust Bank after nearly losing his business. The reason: Operation Choke Point, the federal government’s program that was introduced in 2012 to combat fraud in the banking industry. However, the initiative has come under fire from across the political spectrum due to allegations of “unintentional” targeting of businesses dealing in firearm and ammunition sales, even those operating within the confines of the law.
According to an article published by the Daily Signal, Lichterman explained how the repressive regulations affect credit card processing rates and harm his business, stating:
“I would have been unable to continue doing business at credit card rates because the internet is the most competitive marketplace on earth and a dealer will buy a gun from one guy because it’s a dollar less than another,” he said. “Being able to do these transactions and save the 4.5 percent of every transaction, you do a $1,000 transaction, you’re looking at $40.”
The Daily Signal reports that legislation has been introduced in the US Senate that would prevent the federal agencies that oversee banks from requesting or ordering banks to terminate customer accounts “unless the regulator has material reason.”
Since the program’s inception, many gun sellers, pawn shops, and short-term lenders have reported their bank accounts being shut down.