Does YOUR financial institution support your Second Amendment rights?
by Chad D. Baus
Two recent pieces of news drive home the importance of making sure that your bank respects your Second Amendment rights.
Earlier this month, McMillan Group International, LLC announced that Bank Of America had severed ties with their company specifically because, in the years since they'd opened their accounts, McMillan had transitioned into a firearms manufacturing role.
From a statement released by McMillan on April 19:
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking came to my office. He scheduled the meeting as an "account analysis" meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them. He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.
At this point I interrupted him and asked "Can I possibl[y] save you some time so that you don't waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer what my business."
"That is correct" he says.
I replied "That is okay, we will move our accounts as soon as possible. We can find a 2nd Amendment friendly bank that will be glad to have our business. You won't mind if I tell the NRA, SCI and everyone one I know that BofA is not firearms industry friendly?"
"You have to do what you must" he said.
"So you are telling me this is a politically motivated decision, is that right?"
Mr. Fox confirmed that it was. At which point I told him that the meeting was over and there was nothing left for him to say.
I think it is important for all Americans who believe in and support our 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms should know when a business does not support these rights. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. When I don't agree with a business' political position I can not in good conscience support them. We will soon no longer be accepting Bank of America credit cards as payment for our products.
Kelly D McMillan
Director of Operations
McMillan Group International, LLC
After posting this message on its Facebook page, the news immediately went viral.
When contacted by Snopes.com, Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace stated that she could not comment on the bank's relationship with McMillan Group, but added that Bank of America "has no policies that would prohibit us from doing business with clients in [the firearms] industry." As evidence, Snopes.com reports she pointed to a recent financial news article that mentioned a $250 million business deal involving Bank of America with Freedom Group Inc. Asked for a response, Mr. McMillan maintained to Snopes.com that his account accurately describes what took place at the meeting.
A bit closer to home, Ohio's gun owners are familiar with the discriminatory policy taken against them by Fifth Third Bank, which chose to begin posting its Ohio branches with "no-guns" signs following passage of concealed carry reform law in 2004.
As has been documented on this website again and again and again (and again and again and again and again), and as could be seen most recently after a five hour standoff between robbers and police in southwest Ohio, criminals still don't seem to be getting the message that guns aren't allow inside Fifth Third Bank.
From WHIO-TV (CBS Dayton):
A third person authorities believe was involved in Friday morning's robbery and five-hour standoff at a Fifth Third Bank in Springboro remained on the run Friday night.
Police and a specialist with the Dayton office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cincinnati division wouldn't comment about a third suspect. But authorities did name two men taken into custody when they surrendered -- after they set a fire inside the business at 795 N. Main St. that they also trashed.
Anton Alexander, 35, of Pendleton, Ind., and 43-year-old Anthony Phillips of Fort Wayne, Ind., walked out the front door at 1:22 p.m. following negotiations with authorities. They were taken to the Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati on Friday night. They will be charged federally with bank robbery and carrying and using a firearm.
Maj. John DiPietro, deputy chief, Miami Twp. police, told News Center 7 earlier in the day that authorities believed a third person was waiting for Alexander and Phillips in a getaway vehicle.
...Police said the two men were hiding in bushes outside the bank before it opened for the day. When the manager showed up, the suspects came out of hiding, with at least one gun, and confronted him.
"He was opening the branch and they grabbed him and knocked him down," a caller to 911 said.
Special Agent Edward Hanko, who works out of the FBI office in Cincinnati, said the suspects lost control of the situation because police responded to the situation so quickly. The manager ran out the back door during the chaos and was fired upon. The bullet missed him, Hanko said. Alexander and Phillips refused to come out after that.
...Hanko said the suspects made a mess inside the bank, breaking out ceiling tiles and setting the fire, which was extinguished after the arrests.
The article cites FBI statistics indicating that Ohio ranked fourth nationally in bank robberies in 2010, up from eighth in 2008. In 2010, 263 hostages were taken in Ohio bank robberies, according to the FBI.
Maybe that's because the criminals have seen all the "no-guns" signs and feel confident no one inside banks such as Fifth Third will be able to defend themselves.
In 2005, Robert Hawk, an FBI spokesman for the Cleveland region, told American Banker Online what gun owners have always known - that the signs make no difference in preventing crime.
"People rob banks primarily for one reason, to get money for drugs or some other addiction," Mr. Hawk said. "They couldn't care less whether or not there was a sign on the door."
Unfortunately, that reality just doesn't seem to penetrate the minds of decision-makers at Fifth Third Bank or Bank of America.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.