Obama and Holder’s “Operation Choke Point” Still Forcing Gun Retailers Out of Business

Operation Choke Point is an under-the-radar project by the Obama administration to shut down businesses that he and Eric Holder don’t like by cutting off their access to financing.

Of course, one industry that they target is the gun industry.

Calico Light Weapons Systems is one example of this fascist attack, who has had their credit card processing cut off because they have been accused of selling gun parts over the Internet.

“The [credit card] company thought that I sold firearms over the Internet, which I do not,” stated Chris Holmgren, the company president of Calico Light Weapons Systems. “My company only sells parts online, like screws, washers, and other soft goods.

“I am certain that this is the work of Operation Choke Point, and that my company was targeted because it is considered a ‘high risk’ by the Department of Justice and FDIC, even though we do nothing illegal,” he said.

More on the Calico Light Weapons Systems story:

Oregon based Calico has been told that they can no longer process credit cards due to the current liberal administration saying that Calico is selling parts for guns over the internet, not the entire gun itself. From the overall views of “Operation Choke Hold”, that alone constitutes as an illegal activity, bringing the company to its knees by not allowing them to process any cards.

Critics of the program have noted that the Obama administration is using the program to crack down on businesses it doesn’t approve of, even those outside of the programs intended use. Many companies, even people have been cut off financially from the system just by the flick of a switch, so to say, by those overseeing the system.

Chris Holmgren, the company president of Calico Light Weapons Systems has said he is surely the most recent victim of the questionable operation. Holmgren said he was warned in late July that his processing account would be closed due to ‘illegal activities.’

“The [credit card] company thought that I sold firearms over the Internet, which I do not,” he said. “My company only sells parts online, like screws, washers, and other soft goods.”

After numerous phone calls to his credit card processor, Intuit Merchant Service, Holmgren was told a “policy change” related to “illegal activities” is what was forcing Intuit to close Calico’s account.

“By this point, I wondered if my company had been a target of Operation Choke Point,” he said. “I had heard of the program, but never believed that my company’s accounts could be at risk since we do nothing illegal.”

Holmgren said the credit card processing company has stated it could re-open his account at a later date, but months later it has not happened.

“I am certain that this is the work of Operation Choke Point, and that my company was targeted because it is considered a ‘high risk’ by the Department of Justice and FDIC, even though we do nothing illegal,” he said.

In the meantime, Calico is recovering from the setback by partnering with a “pro-Second Amendment” credit card servicer — McMillan Merchant Solutions, which is based in Arizona. The difference from the two companies is simple – McMillan has noted that they will not be strong-armed by the governments’ tactics to take down companies and people doing nothing wrong.

“Operation Choke Point isn’t just targeting online merchants, it’s targeting entire industries, regardless of their clean records and law-abiding practices,” Brian Wise, senior adviser for the U.S. Consumer Coalition.

“Calico Light Weapon Systems reached out to the U.S. Consumer Coalition as the first gun manufacturer who came forward as a victim of Operation Choke point,” he said. “Now it is clear that the administration is not just going after gun dealers, but manufacturers as well. This program represents the single biggest threat to gun ownership that U.S. consumers have ever seen.”

“This sounds more like strong-arming than law enforcement.”

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Operation Choke Point this past July. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said the program has stopped some illegal activities, along with an “unacceptable level of collateral damage.”

Numerous accounts of strong-arming specific industries and other noted ‘personal dislikes’ of individuals, companies and products are being targeted by the Obama administration, said Goodlatte has got to end.

Operation Choke Point is still in effect:

For two and a half years, through House hearings,Congressional investigations, and budgeting gimmicks, Republican lawmakers have been working to stop Operation Choke Point.

Up until earlier this month, when the House voted 250-169 in favor of a bill that would end the initiative, they had little success. In order to take effect, the bill must still pass through the Senate and be signed by the president.

But is the effort too little too late—or are innocent business owners still being hurt by Operation Choke Point?

The Daily Signal set out to find out.

The Backstory

Operation Choke Point was designed to fight financial fraud by pressuring banks to close the accounts of fraudulent businesses. Critics, however, believe that federal banking regulators abused their authority under the program by pressuring banks to close the accounts of entire industries that the Obama administration didn’t like.

Some industries allegedly targeted included firearms and ammunition sellers, pawn shops, tobacco distributors, dating services, and payday lenders.

Eighteen months ago, The Daily Signal was regularly contacted by business owners who believed they were being impacted by the program. Since Congress ramped up its investigations into Operation Choke Point, those stories have slowed down.

But according to members of Congress and industry experts, they haven’t stopped.

“It hasn’t gone away,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., told The Daily Signal in an interview earlier this month. “[But] it has been reduced.”

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