6.25.18

Page 8

NATION

A8 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Gun industry sees banks as new threat to Second Amendment

M 1 • MOnDAy • 06.25.2018

DIGEST Daniels to meet with prosecutors over payment

Stormy Daniels is scheduled to be interviewed Monday by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, preparing for a potential grand jury appearance about a $130,000 payment from President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, have been cooperating with prosecutors and provided documents about the payment, made shortly before the 2016 election, in response to a subpoena, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney and attorneys for Cohen declined to comment. California wildfire burns 12 buildings • A wind-driven wildfire destroyed a dozen buildings and threatened hundreds of others Sunday as it raced across dry brush in rural California. The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the small community of Clearlake Oaks, was one of four wildfires burning in largely rural areas as wind and heat gripped a swath of California from San Jose to the Oregon border. The blaze destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600 as it burned out of control across about 2.5 square miles. It is north of the wine country region where devastating wildfires killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last October. Authorities ordered people to evacuate all homes in the residential area of Spring Valley and surrounding areas. No injuries were reported.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The owners and employees of Honor Defense, a gunmaker in Gainesville, Ga., include (from left to right) Pete Ramey, who works on the assembly line; Gary Ramey, the company's owner; his wife and company business manager, Pam Ramey; and Richard Moore, who works on the assembly line. BY LISA MARIE PANE Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, GA. • With Gary

Ramey’s fledgling gunmaking business, Honor Defense, taking off in retail stores, he decided to start offering one of his handguns for sale on his website. That didn’t sit well with the company he used to process payments, and they informed him they were dropping his account. Another credit card processing firm told him the same thing: They wouldn’t do business with him. The reason? His business of making firearms violates their policies. In the wake of high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has been taking a stand against the firearms industry amid a lack of action by lawmakers on gun control. Payment processing firms are limiting transactions, Bank of America stopped providing financing to companies that make AR-style guns, and retailers like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods imposed age restrictions on gun purchases. The moves are lauded by gunsafety advocates but criticized by the gun industry that views them as a backhanded way of undermining the Second Amendment. Gun industry leaders see the backlash as a real threat to their industry and are coming to the

conclusion that they need additional protections in Congress to prevent financial retaliation. “If a few banks say, ‘No, we’re not going to give loans to gun dealers or gun manufacturers,’ all of a sudden the industry is threatened and the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much if there are no guns around,” said Michael Hammond, legal counsel for Gun Owners of America. “If you can’t make guns, if you can’t sell guns, the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much.” The issue has already gotten the attention of the Republican who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho sent letters criticizing Bank of America and Citigroup over their new gun rules in the wake of the Florida high school shooting in February. “We should all be concerned if banks like yours seek to replace legislators and policy makers and attempt to manage social policy by limiting access to credit,” Crapo wrote to Citigroup. Honor Defense is a small operation with a handful of employees, including Ramey’s son and his wife who work out of a nondescript building in an office park north of Atlanta. In 2016, its first year, it sold 7,500 firearms. Its products — 9 mm handguns that come in a variety of colors — can be found in more than 1,000 stores. When Ramey noticed that

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neither Stripe nor Intuit would process payments through his site, he submitted a complaint with Georgia’s attorney general’s office, counting on help from a state law that prohibits discrimination by financial service firms against the gun industry. But the state rejected it, saying that credit card processing is not considered a financial service under state law. He views the credit card issue as companies “infusing politics into business.” The financial industry actions came amid a broader pushback by corporate America in the aftermath of the Florida shooting. Gun-control advocates have applauded the efforts, saying it demonstrates responsible leadership at a time of paralysis in government. Experts say it’s a sign that the business world views wading into the gun debate as not at all risky — and, in fact, potentially beneficial to their brand. The gun industry acknowledges that there’s nothing requiring companies from doing business with gun manufacturers or dealers. Monthly reports from the federal government show background checks to buy a firearm are up over last year so far, so the early actions apparently have not put a dent in sales. Still, the industry believes it needs stronger laws against financial retaliation in the future.

San Diego shootout leaves 2 officers wounded, suspect dead • A man opened fire on police and firefighters at a San Diego condominium, wounding two officers and sending bullets into nearby units before he was found dead, authorities said Sunday. Police Chief David Nisleit said the two male officers were expected to recover, with one in serious condition and the other with less serious injuries, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported . He didn’t release the names of the wounded officers. Railroad unloading oil from cars after Iowa derailment • Crews were working to contain and clean up crude that spilled when an oil train derailed in northwestern Iowa. BNSF railroad spokesman Andy Williams said workers had unloaded oil from 10 of the oil tank cars that didn’t leak after Friday’s derailment. Officials said 14 of the 32 cars that derailed in Lyon County leaked oil. Officials say 230,000 gallons spilled. Roughly 100,000 gallons had been contained with booms in a low-lying area filled with floodwater near the derailment. Cities downstream from the spill were monitoring their water systems. Boston expands effort to honor King’s legacy • Boston is broadening its efforts to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Mayor Marty Walsh said the city will establish a monument to the civil rights icons on the historic Boston Common. It’ll also create a “high-tech immersion experience” in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood and develop related programming with the neighborhood’s Twelfth Baptist Church, where King served as assistant minister in the early 1950s. The Kings met as students in Boston. Vigil held to support mosque where bacon was left • People have gathered for a vigil to support a Minnesota mosque after officials found bacon left near the front door and in its parking lot, an act one group called “attempted religious desecration.” The Post Bulletin in Rochester reported the incident at the Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddiq Islamic Center on Saturday prompted a police investigation. Nearly 80 people turned out early Sunday for the vigil. Minnesota’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on authorities to investigate the incident at the mosque as a possible hate crime. Muslims are barred from eating pork products. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name removed from book award • A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a major children’s book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid-20th-century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans. The Association for Library Service to Children’s board made the unanimous decision Saturday at a meeting in New Orleans. The name has been changed to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. Wilder is best known for her “Little House on the Prairie” novels. From news services

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