Gun maker blames Obama administration for blocking sales

Reuters / Brian BlancoRT

An Oregon gun manufacturer is blaming the Obama administration for blocking its ability to process orders for parts. This is despite the fact that it claims to have done nothing wrong.

Specifically, Calico Light Weapons Systems is pointing the finger at “Operation Choke Point” – a Justice Department initiative rolled out in 2013 intended to crack down on companies involved in fraud or money laundering and obstruct their access to banks.  

Many gun rights advocates, however, claim the program is putting firearms retailers and related business in the crosshairs simply for political reasons.

Calico owner Chris Holmgren on Thursday told TheBlaze that Operation Choke Point is responsible for the fact that his company’s ability to process credit card transactions with its traditional credit card company has been blocked.

“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 told the website.

The problem reportedly revolves around Calico’s use of the internet for sales. It is illegal to sell firearms online in the United States, and this is the reason cited by Holmgren’s credit card company for his inability to process transactions.

But Holmgren argues that while Calico does offer “soft goods” – gun parts like washers and screws – it does not actually offer guns for purchase over the internet.

For now, Calico has moved on and is conducting business with a different credit card company.

It has not been confirmed whether Operation Choke Point is the real reason for the obstacles in Calico’s path.

Still, opponents of the program are adamant that it is singling out whole sectors of the economy because of its opposition to the proliferation of guns.

“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 of the US Consumer Coalition told TheBlaze.

According to Wise, “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. 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.”

Some lawmakers have also jumped on the Justice Department. House Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) acknowledged in July that the initiative has put an end to various illegal operations, but that it has also been responsible for an “unacceptable level of collateral damage.”

“Operation Choke Point began quietly last year as a way for President Obama and the Justice Department to intimidate and strangle businesses they no longer support,” added Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas). “By forcing banks to cut ties with law-abiding businesses like sporting goods stores [and] licensed gun dealers, these business owners have no recourse.”

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