Thanks to a repeal of a long-standing law in 2015, Kansas currently doesn’t have discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation, but rather than rectify that blot on the state’s reputation, Republicans are focusing on a group that’s a bit closer to home: The hapless gun dealer.
In a new bill, astounding in its sheer audacity, Republicans want to “ban discrimination” against gun dealers and manufacturers. In short, they wish to make the sellers of firearms a protected class like those of race, gender and religion.
As the Wichita Eagle reports:
The bill, titled the Kansas Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act, is scheduled for a Thursday hearing by the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs. The proposal would function similarly to laws that prevent religious or racial discrimination and allow gun dealers to sue in cases where they felt discriminated against.
As one might expect, the bill is in direct response to something conservatives believe about Obama but isn’t actually true. (Newsflash: Obama isn’t coming for your guns.) The bill’s architect, Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Of Course) made that clear when he said this was a way to protect gun dealers from the federal government’s tyranny.
LaTurner said his bill is “intended to give these folks an avenue to push back” and would “give the firearm industry the ability to get some protection against this incredible overreach by our president.”
Republicans have long floated the conspiracy theory that Obama is attempting to destroy gun businesses by making banks scared to do business with them. The “Jade Helm” of this particular fantasy is a 2013 initiative done by the U.S. justice department called “Operation Choke Point.” Like Jade Helm, the procedure was completely innocent, meant to block fraudsters from accessing bank accounts, but tin foil hat wearing gun enthusiasts see signs of something more sinister. At issue appears to be the fact that since Operation Choke Point deals with overseeing banking operations, now, any time a gun dealer gets rejected for a bank loan for any number of reasons, they blame Operation Choke Point for inspiring it.
An audit conducted by the FDIC’s inspector general, released in September, found no instances where the FDIC has pressured a financial institution to decline banking services to a firearm or ammunition dealer.
But chasing the delusion all the way down the rabbit hole, LaTurner and his fellow Republicans felt the need to put gun dealers on the same level as those who faced Jim Crow laws, lynchings, and anti-Semitism.
But back to LeTurner:
“It’s not theoretical. It has happened around the country,” LaTurner said. “I’ve got a business here in Pittsburg that sells guns – they’re a great company – and if a bank decides to stop doing business with them because the feds are breathing down their necks, they need to have some recourse.”
Because if there is one group in the country that needs more protection it’s gun salesmen.
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