Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise for good reasons. Taxpaying outdoorsmen and women there won’t tolerate Second Amendment shenanigans, and Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry is putting a major national bank on notice.
JP Morgan Chase is the largest bank in the country with a balance sheet of nearly $3 trillion dollars. That didn’t stop Louisiana’s top attorney from sending the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon a letter stating, “I do not believe the state of Louisiana is best served by doing business with companies that attempt to profit from the State while denying its citizens the ability to exercise their constitutional rights.”
The clock’s ticking on Dimon’s response and what he’ll say his bank stands for. Turns out Louisiana isn’t interested in more games. The bond commission removed the bank from a recent meeting’s agenda and is still waiting on Dimon’s official response.”
Taking a Stand
Dimon is no stranger to congressional hearings, his bank’s policies and gun control. He was questioned in 2019 by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) about a letter in which he described the bank’s duty to turn down business from “low character” clients. She wondered why JP Morgan Chase hadn’t formally adopted gun control discrimination policies like those of Bank of America and Citigroup.
“We can certainly consider that,” Dimon responded. His answer set the table and JP Morgan Chase adopted its own antigun policies.
Fast forward and Dimon testified again before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in May this year. In his remarks, Dimon responded to a question from gun control advocate U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) that the bank, “… does not finance the manufacture of military-style weapons for civilian use.” Language gymnastics aside, Dimon dismissed the fact that Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) are legal and so is manufacturing them. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry took notice.
In addition to AG, Landry also sits on Louisiana’s Bond Commission which oversees and decides what banks finance the bonds and underwriting for the state’s infrastructure projects. JP Morgan certified it did not implement financing policies that would infringe on the rights of Louisianans when it submitted a “Solicitation for Offers” to the Louisiana Bond Commission. Landry made Dimon aware of the implications of these backdoor gun control policies held by the bank.
“As Attorney General, I have continuously fought to protect the rights of our citizens under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” he wrote. “I believe that the Bond Commission should not conduct any business with an entity that discriminates against law-abiding citizens and businesses in the State of Louisiana.” Now JP Morgan must reconsider its “SFO” and provide answers or risk more than $1.1 billion in state business. Landry’s waiting.
States Standing Up
Louisiana isn’t alone in standing up to discriminatory policies. Texas’s legislature passed and Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott signed into law the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination Act (FIND Act). The law prohibits “woke” corporations from profiting from Texas tax dollars and using those profits to fund efforts to deny those same taxpayers their Second Amendment rights. The law already cost JP Morgan Chase the $3.3 billion it underwrote in bonds in 2020 now that it is denied from doing so this year.
A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase cried foul after the law was signed and the bank was refused the business. “While our business practices should permit us to certify, the legal risk associated with this ambiguous law prevents us from bidding on most business right now with Texas public entities.” It was JP Morgan Chase’s discriminatory business practices that got them in the situation in the first place.
State-level stands against corporate discrimination and Second Amendment activism isn’t just taking place in the South. FIND Act laws have been introduced in several states, including in Ohio where Republican state Rep. Scott Wiggam introduced legislation there.
Firearm-related businesses employ more than 12,000 Ohioans and generated $202 million in federal and state taxes. That included an additional $32.7 million in Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that benefit wildlife conservation.
“Ohio can stand up to these bank bullies. Our lawmakers already have a blueprint to do it too,” Rep. Wiggam wrote in a recent op-ed referencing Texas’s success. “Ohio has a chance to put an end to corporate entities benefitting from taxpayer-funded contracts while at the same time using that money to deny Ohioans their Second Amendment rights.”
Dimon’s response to Landry will be telling, if he sends it. More states are taking a stand for their citizens’ Second Amendment rights and telling “woke” corporations like JP Morgan Chase to take their business elsewhere.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.