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August 4, 2014

Firearms Retailers Now Off ‘Operation Choke Point’ Watch List

In a move prompted by NSSF’s work with assistance from the NRA in getting the issue addressed by key members of Congress, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) last week reported that firearms retailers are no longer on a watch list of businesses deemed at higher risk for fraud.  The FDIC’s list was compiled as part of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” and has now been withdrawn.

An FDIC spokesman publicly blamed “misunderstandings” and “misinterpretations” and said the agency never meant to prevent banks from conducting transactions or providing services to the types of businesses on its list. Importantly, the agency issued revised guidance that focused on third party payment processors but also declared more broadly that, “It is the FDIC’s policy that insured institutions (banks) that properly manage customer relationships are neither prohibited nor discouraged from providing services to any customer operating in compliance with applicable law.”

As previously reported, NSSF has been providing information to assist U.S. House of Representatives investigations into “Operation Choke Point” and its effects on industry members. Financial Services Oversight Committee staff have told NSSF staff that they will work to ensure the revised FDIC guidance is followed, noting the vast majority of regulatory activity is based around the country, not in Washington, so Congress must continue its ongoing oversight. NSSF will continue to closely monitor and report on developments.

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