In 2012, Bank of America told an Arizona gun maker that it would no longer provide banking services for the company, just because it makes guns.
Kelly McMillan, whose family has been in the firearms business since 1973, quickly learned that he wasn’t alone. Many banks were becoming skittish about doing any business with gun makers, from basic banking services to processing credit card sales.
“The financial institutions have deemed that firearms transactions are high-risk and a lot of companies just flat refuse to handle any type of firearms related transaction,” McMillan said. “As a result, I set out on a mission to find a pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment processor that was willing to partner with me.”
He found one, and launched McMillan Merchant Solutions. His new company has become a sort of safety net for other firearms makers who might suddenly find themselves dropped from their financial service providers, and unable to process credit card transactions.
According to McMillan, this happens all the time.
“The firearms industry is under enormous pressure, with many financial vendors covertly discriminating against firearms manufacturers and retailers,” he said. “Others openly refuse to handle legal firearms transactions or lend to anyone in the firearms industry.”
Some of this pressure could be coming from the desire of risk-averse banks to avoid any connection with an industry that typical comes under scrutiny whenever a tragic shooting death happens. Nathan Danus, executive vice president of McMillan’s company, says it could also be related to the political leanings of bank owners.
Danus said that increasingly, credit card processors are explicitly stating that they won’t handle customers in the industry at all.