Firearms Retailers Off ‘Operation Choke Point’ Watch List

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NEWTOWN, Conn –-(  In a matter closely watched by NSSF, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) this week reported that firearms retailers are no longer on a watch list of businesses deemed “high risk” after withdrawing the list it had compiled of businesses that could be considered at higher risk for fraud, without showing any actual violation of law, as part of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point.”

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 noted 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 closely monitoring U.S. House of Representatives investigations into “Operation Choke Point” and its effects on industry members. Financial Services Oversight Committee staff told NSSF this week that they will seek to ensure the revised FDIC guidance is followed, noting the vast majority of the regulatory workforce is based around the country, not in Washington, so Congress must continue its ongoing oversight.

NSSF will continue to report on developments.

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