Gun News of the Week: Senate Republicans to Censure Banks that Discriminate Against Gun-Makers, Sellers

Plus: Insurers Balk at Issuing Polices for Armed School Staff, Teachers

TOP STORY

Senate Republicans to Censure Banks that Discriminate Against Gun-Makers, Sellers

Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) plans to file complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against banks that he maintains are illegally restricting gun sales and will also propose a bill to stop banks from discriminating against gun buyers.

Major banks are restricting their credit card and banking services to gun retailers and have halted lending to gun makers that do not comply with age limits and background check rules determined by the banks.

"If you're going to turn us into a nation of red banks and blue banks, you're making a mistake," Kennedy, a member the Senate banking committee for former Louisiana State Treasurer, told the New York Times in a May 27. "Don't come crying to us when you screw up and you want the American taxpayer to bail you out."

In March, Citigroup informed gun-sellers that did not comply with its age limits and background check rules that they will not be able to raise capital. The bank said it would drop clients that do not change their policies.

Bank of America in April announced it would no longer lend money to manufacturers of semi-automatics such as AR-15-style rifles.

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, offered a new line of investment funds that excluded firearms manufacturers and retailers that severed them from potential avenues of financing.

The National Rifle Association's (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action has been monitoring how bankers have infringed on constitutional rights.

"There is growing evidence that some of America's financial elite want to create a world in which America's public policy decisions emanate from corporate boardrooms in Manhattan rather than from citizens and their elected officials," the NRA maintains.

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IT'S ACTUARIAL

Insurers Balk at Issuing Polices for Armed School Staff, Teachers

Kansas is among more than two dozen states that have a law on the books that gives school districts the discretion to allow vetted, trained teachers to carry guns in the classroom.

But as is the case elsewhere, almost no Kansas school districts that might adopt such a policy are doing so because insurance companies refuse to provide coverage if they do.

EMC Insurance, the largest insurer in Kansas schools, in early 2018 issued a letter to its agents which “concluded that concealed handguns on school premises poses a heightened liability risk.”

Following the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Kansas lawmakers proposed a bill banning “unfair, discriminatory” rates for schools that arm staff. The insurance industry held firm. The bill failed.

“I don’t think insurance companies are notorious anti-gun liberals,” Mark Tallman, associate executive director for the Kansas Association of School Boards, told Todd C. Frankel in a May 27 Washington Post article. “So we think they’ve got good reasons for not doing it.”

With proposals to arm school staff, administrators and teachers surface in states across the country, insurance companies are weighing the risks of these plans and some do not want to provide policies, citing the lack of evidence about whether it makes schools safer.

“There’s not a lot of carriers that want to insure that risk,” Nate Walker, a senior vice president at insurer AmWINS Group, told Frankel.

The reaction of insurance companies is notable, Frankel writes, “because they are supposed to evaluate dangers through the dry eye of actuarial science, largely avoiding the heated emotions of the nation’s gun debate.”

Insurance companies say they fear more guns in schools might not only fail to stop mass shootings but lead to more accidents.

Adding trained police officers to schools is generally viewed favorably, industry officials told Frankel.

“Putting in more resource officers — that’s additional security — we feel that makes it safer,” Paul Marshall, of McGowan Program Administrators, told Frankel. “It’s different when you start pushing it to arming teachers, volunteers, voluntary security.”

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STATE ROUNDUP

Grocery Chain’s Submission Endangers All — Even Those Protesting Against It

Publix is Florida’s most successful grocery store chain. If you see a Publix, you know you are in the Sunshine State. As one of the state’s long-established and signature businesses, the company is an active participant in local and state politics.

In early May, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Publix had donated $670,000 to Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign. Putnam, a Republican, is the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture and a staunch gun-owners’ rights supporter.

This outraged gun control activists. David Hogg, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who has emerged as a prominent gun control activist in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting, spurred “die-in” protests at Publix stores across the state on May 25.

Basically, people went into the stores and laid down in aisles pretending to be victims of gun violence.

Even before the protests began, Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens told the Orlando Sentinel that the company was suspending political contributions.

“We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve,″ Stevens told the Orlando Sentinel. “As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.″

There is, of course, an entire conversation about the influence of businesses and corporations in elections finance and it is a justified concern that merits thought and deliberation.

But there is also this: If you are going to put your money where your mouth is, make sure you have the heart and soul to weather the ramifications of your convictions.

Publix failed everyone and anything that takes a stand on any matter — even those protesting in its stores — by showing it could be cowed into submission by those who disagree.

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IN THE COURTS

Complicated Florida Guns On Campus Ruling Does Little To Clarify Simple Constitutional Issue

In a 16-page ruling issued May 25 by a three-judge panel of Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals, supports Florida State University’s campus and game day gun ban while also kicking back to a circuit judge a series of questions with the university’s student conduct code.

The lawsuit, filed against FSU by Florida Carry, drew national attention in 2015 because of incorrect firearm information published in a football “game day guide” that said football fans could not stow guns in cars when attending games.

According to Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida, the ruling “focused heavily on other issues, including a university ban on students carrying stun guns and questions about information in the student conduct code.”

Saunders writes the ruling “also dealt with issues such as a state law that blocks government agencies and officials from imposing restrictions on firearms and a 2013 ruling that said the University of North Florida could not prevent students from keeping guns in vehicles.”

Florida law bars people from carrying concealed firearms on college campuses. FSU’s student conduct code also includes a prohibition on a wide range of weapons.

“Among other things, the student conduct code addressed firearms, stun guns, knives and swords, according to the appeals-court ruling.

Saunders writes that Florida Carry alleged, “at least in part, that Florida State and top school officials knew or should have known that they were prohibited from regulating possession of firearms on campus, including in vehicles.”

In its lawsuit, Florida Carry also alleged the university had improperly barred students with concealed-weapons licenses from carrying stun guns and other “defensive devices.”

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson in May 2016 ruled that the issue about the “game day” guide was moot because Florida State had corrected it shortly after receiving a complaint. The appeals court upheld that decision without explanation.

But, Saunders writes, other parts of Dodson’s 2016 ruling drew more legal analysis, including his conclusion that the university was able to bar students with concealed-weapons license from carrying stun guns and other “defensive devices” on campus.

The appeals court disagreed with Dodson’s legal reasoning but upheld his ruling on the issue.

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