Over the past few years, there has been an uptick in politicized "debanking," a tactic that the activist Wall Street crowd uses to harass, silence or blacklist individuals and organizations that don't align with their narrow, woke political agenda. They are targeting gun stores, energy companies and sometimes even churches for destruction by denying them access to credit and basic banking services. 

If I hadn't experienced this travesty myself as a business owner, I might have a difficult time believing that this could happen in America, let alone here in Alabama. 

I'm part owner of Gold, Guns, and Guitars, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Florence and Huntsville. Out of the blue, a letter arrived from the large national commercial bank that issued our business credit card. Despite being excellent customers with a long history of on-time payments, the letter informed us that our account had been closed, no reason given. We paid off the balance and scrambled to reestablish credit card services elsewhere. 

The following year, the merchant bank that processes credit card payments for us sent a similar notice. Again, no explanation given for "canceling" us. After another mad scramble, we replaced the processor. But even that wasn't the end of it. 

Last year, after a five-year relationship, our insurance company canceled our policy without notice or explanation. Our insurance broker told us that this was happening to other gun sellers, confirming what we already suspected. 

Our experience is hardly an isolated incident of corporate cancel culture. As we now know from the "Twitter files," hundreds, if not thousands, of people lost their reach on social media or were banned entirely at the request of government operatives — in this case, the FBI. 

During the Obama administration's infamous Operation Choke Point, The FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency warned financial institutions that doing business with ammunition sellers, coin dealers, and other lawful businesses disfavored by the administration increased their risk of fraud. Banks took the hint, terminating many long-held, mutually beneficial relationships, typically without warning or explanation. 

Last year, 19 state attorneys general castigated Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for the bank's "attempt to condition critical services on a customer passing some unarticulated religious or political litmus test," saying that it "flies in the face of Chase's anti-discrimination policies." A separate letter signed by 14 state financial officers urged Dimon "to immediately take steps to identify and address internal drivers of political or anti-religious bias that could undermine its fiduciary obligations and impair the freedom of its customers to access financial services without fear of discrimination." 

Just this April, a 15-state coalition of state attorneys general, including Alabama's Steve Marshall, were compelled to send a letter to Bank of America's CEO Brian Moynihan for "conditioning access to its services on customers having the bank's preferred religious or political views." 

A debanking case now before the U.S. Supreme Court involves then-New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent Maria Vullo, who issued statements to banks, insurers and other financial services companies suggesting that they should cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other Second Amendment advocacy organizations or they might suffer "reputational risks." It was like Don Corleone saying, "It would be a shame if something bad happened to that nice business of yours." Several organizations took the signal and discontinued their relationship with NRA. 

There is something very wrong when a defacto blockade of gun sales is being attempted not by elected representatives but by corporate bullies acting on the outlandish demands of political activists. The people of Alabama certainly haven't called for an end to legal gun sales in the state. A nation in which companies can be cajoled into blacklisting perceived political opponents is a nation adrift. 

We value freedom here in Alabama. When the new session of the Alabama Legislature convenes in 2025, lawmakers should make combatting debanking a top priority. No one in our state should have to worry that they will lose their bank account or insurance policy because of their religious and political beliefs, much less their adherence to constitutionally guaranteed rights. 

Andrew Sorrell is the Alabama State Auditor.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News.

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