Many executives at gun manufacturers have told me in off-the-record conversations that their longtime banking relationships have been threatened, even terminated, for political reasons. They say the Obama administration’s “Operation Choke Point” was only a government-led example of a trend. Operation Choke Point is an initiative run by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); basically, the federal government, in this case via a list sent out by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), threatens to penalize financial institutions that do business with companies or company types the government says might be violating the law—this list previously included gun manufacturers and stores that sell firearms.
Even though they were targeted by the federal government and treated as if they are selling illegal (not just politically incorrect to some) products, most of these firearms-related companies prefer not to go public with their grievances—perhaps because they don’t want to draw the wrath of the federal bureaucracy, but also because most marketing departments and corporate boards naturally prefer to keep clear of controversy.
That’s understandable, but a new start-up called MT Tactical Alliance, which makes innovative camera mounts that can go on guns and just about anything else, is taking a different approach.
MT Tactical Alliance tried to raise money via crowd-funding platforms (an online method of raising of capital by asking a large number of people each to invest a small amount of money), but they were denied access to investors by Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder. The reason for the denials: Their products are considered to be “firearms accessories.” According to MT Tactical Alliance, Fundable was the only site that allowed them to participate.
Indiegogo said in an email: “Thanks for checking in about this! Indiegogo strives to provide a platform that empowers any individual that’s engaged and ready to act to fund what matters to them. Based on the information you have provided, your campaign would violate our Terms. There are many universal camera mounts on the market with different uses. In the video link you provided however, it looks like your mount is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with firearms and thus falls under Weapon accessories in our Prohibited Perks section.”
Kickstarter said, “Thanks for writing in. Unfortunately, what you’re doing is outside of our scope.” (Both Indiegogo and Kickstarter were asked to verify the authenticity of these responses and encouraged to comment, but after several days both failed to do so.)
Billy Birdzell, one of the founders of MT Tactical Alliance, said, “We’re shocked. Guns are legal products the federal government strictly regulates, but we don’t even make guns. We make camera mounts.”
Birdzell was a founding member of U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command. He used guns to fight for freedom and now owns guns and shoots recreationally. His says he fought for this freedom and now cherishes it. “But really,” he says, “this isn’t a gun-rights battle; it’s a fight for equal-rights.”
Read more here.