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Republicans file a bill to take down Operation Choke Point

Ten House Republicans introduced new legislation on Tuesday that would shut down the Obama administration's Operation Choke Point, a program many have criticized as an attempt to shut down gun makers, gun retailers and other businesses across the country.

The Firearms Manufacturers and Dealers Protection Act, from Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), would completely eradicate the funding for Choke Point, and prevent any similar programs from emerging in the future.

TINLEY PARK, IL - JUNE 16: A customer shops for a handgun at Freddie Bear Sports on June 16, 2014 in Tinley Park, Illinois. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that it is a crime for one person to buy a gun for another while lying to the dealer about who the gun is for. The law had been challenged by retired police officer Bruce Abramski who was charged with making a 'straw purchase' after buying a gun for his uncle, a lawful gun owner, in order to get a police discount at the dealer. When asked on the paperwork if the gun was for him he checked yes. Scott Olson/Getty Images Gun dealers around the country are under pressure from the Obama administration's Operation Choke Point, but Republicans have a bill to defund that program entirely. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Operation Choke Point is the Obama administration's name for a program aimed at blocking illegal operations from accessing U.S. financial institutions. While few object to that broad goal, many critics say Choke Point has been used to close down legal businesses that the Obama administration opposes, like gun dealers and payday lenders.

Gun retailers in particular have said they have been targeted by Choke Point, and have been suddenly dropped by their banks, which have claimed vague federal regulations as a reason why they can no longer work with certain "high-risk" companies anymore. These companies are never told Operation Choke Point is the reason behind that decision, but many business owners blame that program as the likely factor.

"The firearm industry was unjustifiably targeted by the administration and classified as a 'high-risk' industry," Schweikert said. "As a result, lawful businesses here in Arizona and around the nation were forced to shut their doors because their access to banking institutions was choked off."

"It is clear that more needs to be done to protect the Second Amendment and to stop the administration's targeting of the firearm industry," he added.

Late last year, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report saying the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had worked to convince banks not to do business with gun dealers under Operation Choke Point.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) told TheBlaze in November that Republicans would try to step up their efforts to fight the program in 2015.

Schweikert's bill has nine Republican cosponsors: Reps. Brian Babin (Texas), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Mike Conaway (Texas.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.) Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Barry Loudermilk (Ga.) and Joe Wilson (S.C.).

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