Rubio moves to terminate ‘Choke Point’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation to eliminate “Operation Choke Point,” by cutting off funding to the controversial initiative,

The Justice Department program is aimed at preventing fraud, but Rubio said it’s being used to target gun dealers.

“Operation Choke Point is an attempt by the Obama Administration to weaken 2nd Amendment rights in America,” he said in a statement. “We must stop this administration’s effort to target private industries and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Under choke point, the DOJ has scrutinized banks’ interactions with “high risk” business.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. initially included gun dealers in a list of examples of a potentially “high-risk” sector, that could require extra monitoring by banks. The FDIC later removed the list of examples, saying it created a “misperception that the listed examples of merchant categories were prohibited or discouraged.”

The FDIC went a step further last month, saying that banks should assess risk on a case-by-case basis, rather than declining to work with entire business sectors.

But Second Amendment advocates have continued to suggest that gun retailers are being targeted.

Rubio’s legislation forbids the Justice Department, the FDIC or any other agency from funding “Choke Point.”

It also blocks funding for any program “designed to discourage the provision or continuation of credit or the processing of payments by financial institutions for dealers and manufacturers of firearms and ammunition.”

Rubio is not the first Senate Republican to speak out against the program. GOP members of the Banking Committee said last year that the Justice Department should terminate the program.


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