Politics

Financial Gun Control: Obama-Funded Corporations Targeting Gun Sellers

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: April 29, 2013 3:55 AM

Carey Baker

Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker

Corporations close to the Obama administration have implemented policies targeting gun sellers in the months since the Sandy Hook shooting, leading some to wonder if anti-Second Amendment liberals are trying to accomplish through political pressure what they've been unable to do through legislation.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that General Electric (GE) Capital is cutting off all financial services with retailers whose primary business is the sale of firearms. That news comes a little over a week after Comcast announced it will no longer be selling ads to Florida's gun retailers.

“These are very discriminatory and unfair moves against the firearms industry,” Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker, a former state senator and longtime owner of A.W. Peterson Gun Shop in Mount Dora, the nation's oldest continuously-operating gun shop, tells Sunshine State News. “I believe these companies have succumbed to [Obama] administration pressure. ... This is all coming to a head in what I think is a concerted effort to discriminate, to marginalize, and eventually eliminate the firearms industry. And I believe it's politically motivated.”

Baker admits he has no hard evidence of the Obama administration having orchestrated, or collaborated in the development of, these policies; but both GE and Comcast have been the recipients of the administration's generous corporate welfare to favored companies.

As of October 2010, GE had received about $25 million in Obama stimulus grants, and as of July 12 had received at least $3 billion of taxpayer money to subsidize “green technology.” The company was one of the chief donors to Obama's 2008 and 2012 election campaigns, and GE's CEO (since 2001) Jeffrey R. Immelt headed the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness from Feb. 23, 2011, to Jan. 31, 2013.

Comcast, another major Obama campaign contributor, for its part has received tens of millions of dollars in stimulus money since 2008. The company owns MSNBC, frequently documented to be the most biased of the cable news networks – in favor of the Democratic Party. Two of the network's newest contributors are former Obama strategist David Axelrod and former spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Another Obama stimulus beneficiary, Cerburus Capital Management, announced shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings that it was divesting from all gun investments, and would be selling Freedom Group, the nation's largest firearms manufacturer.

In January, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – Obama's former White House chief of staff – sent a letter to stimulus-recipient Bank of America, urging the bank to suspend its services with gun companies that declined to adopt certain restrictions. While the bank says it has no corporate policy against financing gun sellers or manufacturers, at least two sellers – American Spirit Arms and McMillan Firearms Manufacturing – have alleged that they were told by local Bank of America representatives that their business was no longer wanted.

GE declined an interview with SSN, instead sending along an unsigned statement apparently identical to one partially quoted in the Wall Street Journal and attributed to spokesman Russell Wilkerson. Despite being asked multiple times, GE would not say whether their new policy was adopted at the behest of, or in consultation with, Obama administration officials.

On the other hand, Kellie Grutko, vice president of marketing for Comcast Spotlight, denied that her company collaborated with the administration to adopt its policy.

“Consistent with longstanding NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward,” she explained. “This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations.”

Possible collaboration with a reigning governmental administration aside, Baker says Comcast's discrimination against gun sellers is problematic for another reason: the company yields a state governmental monopoly on the provision of cable services in his area, and throughout much of the Sunshine State.

“For me that's very detrimental, because Comcast has the legal monopoly in my area,” he explains, saying he's advertised with the company for some 20 years. “They're state-franchised, there is no other cable operator, so I've esentially been shut out of affordable TV advertisement.”

A legal remedy may be on the way, though almost certainly not this legislative session, which wraps up in a few days. On Friday, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution censuring Comcast and calling on the Florida Legislature to take action.

“When we grant a legal monopoly for whatever reason, with that comes an obligation: if you have this monopoly, you have to provide, in a reasonable manner, access to the public,” Baker insists. “I don't want [Comcast] to be forced to run any crazy ad that someone wants to run, but I just don't think they can have a broad-based ban over an entire legal, constitutionally-protected industry.

“Of course, ultimately I just wish our large corporate citizens would just do the right thing; I don't want to pass legislation, I'd rather they'd just do the right thing.”



Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (954) 235-9116.


Comments (12)

Greg
10:40AM MAY 1ST 2013
GE gave 3 times as much money to Romney than Obama during the election. They are not "close to Obama", they wanted him to lose.
Douglas
9:44AM MAY 1ST 2013
Maybe it's time for the state/county to introduce Comcast to proper competition in the cable business to open their minds to fairness! Legal gun businesses should be able to buy ad time on cable networks like any other businesses.
Roger Bennett
1:21AM MAY 1ST 2013
Isn't it nice to hear the shrill whining of "conservatives" as they circle up the wagons to protect the most useless, obsolete Constitutional Right they enjoy.....because its being scrutinized, and in most cases rejected...in a perfectly legal way. Get these guys another round, the show is just beginning.
TERRY RECTOR
1:46PM MAY 13TH 2013
That useless obsolete Constitutional right we enjoy, allows you to make stupid, idiotic comments with no recourse.....think before you speak, it is unbecoming not too...
Frank
9:30PM APR 30TH 2013
Gee, and here I thought libertarians were all into individual (think corporate) and political freedom . . . . . guess not, huh . . . .

Oh well, that just goes along with the vain of their Leader's (Ron Paul's) recent pronouncements on libertarian Lew Rockwell's site about the caution that the Boston police advised citizens after the bombing, but before the shoot-out and capture of Dzhokhar:

"These were not the scenes from a military coup in a far off banana republic, but rather the scenes just over a week ago in Boston as the United States got a taste of martial law. The ostensible reason for the military-style takeover of parts of Boston was that the accused perpetrator of a horrific crime was on the loose. The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself."

Yes . . . . now we understand . . . . you're basically all a little crazy . . . .

Pathetic . . .
Frankly
6:16PM APR 30TH 2013
42 USC section 1983 may well provide a remedy for denial of equal access to business services.
kelvin hoffman
3:21PM APR 30TH 2013
sounds to me like all mainstream media and any banks refusing to back their customers then they should be boycotted and the customers to remove all of their funds from these institutions and go somewhere where they will be treated with respect.
Frankly
6:17PM APR 30TH 2013
Why not bring claim for damages in federal court?
MyDear
3:05PM APR 30TH 2013
GE Capital quit lending to customers of new stores since 2008, Bank of America quit lending to all gun buyers in 2008, and Wells Fargo quit doing so 10 years ago, so the gun lending business has been heading in this direction way before Obama came along. So, it’s probably not a big vast conspiracy going on here. Another more likely reason could be that GE Capital is based in Conn, where Sandy Hook is also at, and Peter Lanza, the father of Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza, is an executive at GE Capital. That’s a more solid connection.
Frankly
8:27PM APR 29TH 2013
The US Supreme Court just recently announced that corporations are persons too, so a corporation denying another corporation the rights of citizenship premised upon a political motivation or exercise of a fundamental liberty, then violates 42 USC 1983, the equal accomodations act, the same as it would if the business were to deny services to individuals because of their political affiliation of exercise of a fundamental liberty. These corporations who seek to unlawfully interfere with the lawful business pursuits of other corporations on an unconstitutional premise should answer in federal court the same as they would if deliberately interfering with an individual's civil liberties.
Because the Obama Administration does not agree with a person's choice to exercise civil liberties is not an appropriate ground to deny the exercise of civil liberties. We as a nation are suffering deprivation of civil liberties in increasingly troublesome manners.
cleanwater2
5:54PM APR 29TH 2013
The best defense is a better offense! Obama is the problem therefore every effort to prove that Obama is violating the Constitution in many ways should result in this removal.
There is evidence that Obama first violation of the Constitution is not having a valid Birth certificate. This should be every Americans first priority to get every Secretary of State to demand that Obama produce a "valid birth certificate".
Michael Wright
8:06AM APR 29TH 2013
This really doesn't surprise me at all with looking at what Obama has done since his reelection.... He has done nothing constructive that would help the country and has constantly attacked our 2 amendment and pushing the amnesty for illegals that shouldn't be given amnesty....if he put half as much effort in working on our unemployment problems, our budget we would be way better of... This isn't just my view but Obama I don't think he is from this country and he has ties with the Muslim brother hood and the United Nations to disarm use.... He is a lier and deceiver of massive proportion.... The sooner this idiot its gone the better of our country will be in.....

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