Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Rolled Out Plan to Prevent Banks From Halting Business with Gun Companies

On February 14, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis revealed plans to pass a series of new regulations for banks with the aim of barring them from using social concerns to determine which companies they do business with. 

DeSantis called attention to how big banks have cut ties with firearms vendors in recent years. In particular, DeSantis invited Brandon Wexler, the owner of Wex Gunworks, when he announced his plan to crack down on banks’ political behavior, to share his experience about being cut off  from Wells Fargo’s services  in January.

“If your bank account is being closed down, your life just got turned upside down,” Wexler said to the crowd. “If you can’t transact with a business, you don’t have a business.”  

“We are also going to enact protections for Floridians against discrimination by big banks and large financial institutions for their religious, political, or social beliefs,” Desantis stated.

According to a report by The Reload, the bank closed Wexler’s business and personal accounts late in 2022. In letters that Wells Fargo sent to Wexler, the bank noted that the decision was made following its assessment of its business.

“Wells Fargo performs ongoing reviews of its account relationships in connection with the Bank’s responsibilities to manage risks in its banking operations,” the bank stated in a December 22nd letter it sent to Wexler. “We recently reviewed your account relationship and, as a result of this review, we will be closing your above-referenced accounts.”

A second letter detailed how Wells Fargo was canceling Wexler’s business line of credit due to how its “banking guidelines exclud[e] lending to certain types of businesses.”

Desantis has criticized financial institutions for allegedly using social credit scores to determine which institutions that they’ll do business with, something he has likened to the way the Communist Party of China operates.

“This also ends up going when a bank evaluates different companies,” he declared. “They’ll use things called ‘social credit scores.’ This is actually something actually more likely to find use in the CCP. It doesn’t have use in the US of A. They’re ranking you about what you’re doing to basically conform your behavior to their ideological imperatives. And that’s not something that is acceptable here in the state of Florida.”

He believes these sorts of evaluations are only used against right-leaning groups and individuals.

“Their targets always seem to be, and I haven’t seen an example where it’s not, they always seem to be those people who are disfavored by the jet setters in places like Davos: Second Amendment advocates, people involved in the production of domestic energy,” he remarked.

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner joined Desantis on stage to support this proposal to disqualify banks from receiving state contracts if they use social credit scores or refuse to do business with gun companies or other industries associated with the Right.

“The goal of corporate activism seen in environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) is to bypass democracy and transform capitalism to serve an ideological agenda,” Renner stated. “We will not allow these martini millionaires to push unsafe and unsound investment practices that silence debate in the political process, weaken investment strategies for Florida retirees, and discriminate against any individual’s beliefs.”

Desantis believes the issue is about “who governs our society” and said elected officials should be the individuals who will decide who can and can’t gain access to financial services.

“Our Constitution says we the people govern through elections and different houses of the legislature… the executive… you can kind of arrive at policy, and people can evaluate that. They can choose other people in future elections. Well, what ESG does, and when you have major asset managers and these international folks and folks at these big Wall Street Banks… they just want to do an end run around that. They don’t want to have to worry about winning elections.”

DeSantis is showing the Right how to use state power in a prudential manner to rein in bad private actors. One of the biggest mistakes the Right has made in recent times has been its slavish devotion to the private sector.  The fact is that bad actors exist in both the private and public sectors. If they act out of line, they must be throttled. No questions asked. 

When companies start promoting woke agendas, the Right must act swiftly and clamp down on them.

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