April 12th, 2018

Gun Politics: Teachers Union Issues ‘Ultimatum’ to Wells Fargo

AFT Teachers union boycott Wells Fargo NRA gun control

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) plans to boycott Wells Fargo unless that bank stops doing business with the NRA and gun makers. AFT President Randi Weingarten stated: “We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum — they [sic] can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers. They can’t do both.” The AFT has publicly stated that if Wells Fargo continues to support firearms businesses and the NRA, the AFT will discontinue its popular Wells Fargo mortgage program offered to teach union members. According to Bloomberg, Wells Fargo has loaned more than $430 million to firearms companies over the years. Wells also operates accounts for the NRA.

Report by Dave Dolbee of Cheaper Than Dirt Blog
Last week, the AFT released correspondence between Weingarten and Wells Fargo President Tim Sloan. The release outlined the union’s concerns about Wells Fargo’s connections with the NRA — as well as its threat to stop offering Wells Fargo mortgages, if Wells Fargo continues being the NRA banker. The Wells Fargo mortgage program is part of the Union Privilege program. More than 20,000 AFT members currently hold mortgages through the program.

If Wells Fargo fails to meet the AFT’s demands, the AFT says it will push other Union Privilege organizations to boycott Wells also. The AFL-CIO was copied on the AFT’s demands to Well Fargo.

AFT President Weingarten declared: “The lives of students and educators must be valued more than guns. This is America — Wells Fargo has the right to be the NRA banker, but we have rights too. That’s why if Tim doesn’t ditch his guns business, we’ll ditch Wells Fargo. No words will dissuade us from our view that our society must value people over profits. We have a responsibility on behalf of our members and their students who face potential gun violence every day.”

Dave Dolbee asks some key questions about this AFT ultimatum: “I wonder how the members of the ATF feel about the move. I mean, did the membership vote for this?” Dolbee wonders if the interests of the majority of AFT members are really being served by this boycott, or whether an extremist policy has been adopted based on the political viewpoints of a handful of AFT leaders.

Points to Ponder — Guns vs. Cell-Phones
While the events in Parkland, Florida were tragic, and the nation must develop strategies to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, there are other risks to young students that may be statistically far more significant than gun violence. Newsday.com reports that over 3000 school-age teens die every year in vehicle accidents caused by texting while driving. Another 300,000 teens are injured in texting-related driving accidents.

That works out to 54 teen deaths per week from texting while driving. That is three times the Parkland HS death toll. Will the AFT teachers’ union demand that Wells Fargo stop doing business with smart-phone manufacturers or cellular providers? By distracting teen drivers, cell phones kill countless more students every year than do firearms. So which problem truly deserves more attention from policy-makers?

AFT Teachers union boycott Wells Fargo NRA gun control

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January 24th, 2013

Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show Postponed After Mass Boycott

Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

After a massive boycott by dozens of exhibitors and sponsors, including the NRA and Cabela’s, British-owned Reed Exhibitions has “postponed” 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show (ESOS). The Show, one of the largest Outdoor Expos on the East Coast, was originally slated to open February 2, 2013 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The reason for the mass boycott was Reed’s decision to ban the display of AR-platform and similar semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle systems at ESOS. The announced ban was confusing to many exhibitors because Reed also runs the SHOT Show (for the NSSF) and there was no such ban on ARs in Las Vegas last week. In fact, at SHOT Show, you couldn’t turn your head in the Sands Expo Center without seeing ARs and AR-related hardware on display.

The NSSF stated that it: “is in no way affiliated with, nor does it participate in or exhibit at this show in any way. Reed Exhibitions does, however, manage the NSSF-owned SHOT Show.” Because of Reed’s actions, “NSSF is considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.”

Eastern Sports Outdoor Show

The NRA declared: “Due to Reed Exhibitions’ refusal to reconsider their decision to ban Modern Sporting Rifles from the February 2-10 Eastern Sports Show in Harrisburg, PA, the National Rifle Association has decided to withdraw from the show. The NRA’s future participation in the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show will be determined by Reed Exhibitions’ actions in response to the concerns raised by the NRA, the outdoor industry, and America’s law-abiding gun owners.”

Read Related Story from The Patriot-News (PennLive.com).

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May 16th, 2009

Interview with Olympic Shooting Legend Lones Wigger

Lones Wigger Olympic ShooterLones (pronounced “lon-ess”) Wigger is the first and only American shooter to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. At the NRA annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, we were privileged to chat with Wigger at the Eley booth where he is answering questions and providing information about Eley products.

We discussed many topics, ranging from Cold War politics (he was not allowed to shoot in the 1980 Moscow Olympics due to the U.S.A. boycott), to barrel tuners. Wigger is a true legend among American shooters, having participated as shooter or coach with five USA Olympic teams. He also set many world records during his long shooting career. In the video below, Wigger talks about his Hall of Fame Olympic accomplishments, and offers advice to young persons getting started in competitive shooting.

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January 9th, 2008

Citi/First Data Anti-Gun Policies Stir Controversy, Calls for Boycott

The news that Citi Merchant Services and First Data have refused to process sales for guns and gun accessories has spread like wildfire across the internet, arousing the ire of gun owners around the country. The story broke when the NSSF reported that Citi Merchant Services and First Data terminated the merchant account of CDNN Sports, a large, Texas-based gun retailer. There have been calls for the boycott of Citicorp/Citibank/Citi-Card products, as many gun owners have vowed to close their Citibank accounts or terminate their Citi-affiliated credit cards.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Citicorp/Citigroup has faced a boycott threat from gun owners. In 2000, after Citibank imposed a “no firearms” policy on a Nevada gun range, firearms owners nationwide responded with a boycott that caused Citibank to alter its policies.

The Year 2000 Citibank Boycott
As reported by the Second Amendment Foundation (“SAF”), the “Battle began with a February 7, 2000 letter from Citibank to the Nevada Pistol Academy stating that their recently approved account would be closed in ten days ‘due to Citibank not maintaining accounts for businesses that deal in weapons.’ This letter revealed an otherwise secret policy of refusing accounts from lawful, Federally-licensed firearm-related businesses.” In response to a threatened boycott from the SAF and other firearms groups, Citibank, a member of CitiGroup, agreed to drop its policy of refusing accounts of lawful firearms businesses. Citibank agreed to treat small firearms sellers the same as other businesses “using the same standards” according to a Citibank media statement.

Citicorp and First Data Alliance
Fast forward to 2008 — In the current dispute, some folks have wondered whether Citicorp is directly involved in the denial of card processing services to CDNN Sports which sparked the controversy. The answer is yes. Though First Data provides processing solutions, Citi Merchant Services handles the actual banking end of the card processing. First Data explains: “Citi Merchant Services provided by First Data Merchant Services Corporation is a contractual alliance in the U.S. between Citicorp Payment Services, Inc. (CPSI) and First Data Merchant Services Corporation (FDMS). FDMS provides all the systems, technology, processing services and customer support to the alliance. CPSI is the sponsoring card association member and provides the clearing and settlement functions on behalf of the alliance.”

Termination Based on Faulty Legal Interpretation
In terminating CDNN’s merchant services account, and freezing $75,000 of CDNN’s card collections, Citi Merchant Services (“CMS”) and First Data specifically cited the sales of firearms in interstate commerce as the reason. CMS/First Data asserted that interstate firearms sales violate the Gun Control Act and that “shipping across state lines is also banned”. CMS/First Data misconstrue the law, and ignore the fact that any and all firearms sold by CDNN to non-Texas customers must be shipped to licensed FFLs, in full compliance with Federal statute. If you have ever purchased a gun from CDNN you know it will only ship to verified FFL-holders.

Either CMS and First Data are completely ignorant of the law, or they are using a faulty interpretation of Federal law as a pretext to deny services to CDNN. Either way, the actions of CMS and First Data are unjustified. As one internet poster wrote: “Citi Bank [CMS/First Data] has taken the view that THEY are an arm of the BATF. Problem is, they do not even understand the rules.” Here is the termination letter sent to CDNN Sports. Click the image for a full size version with the key text highlighted:


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