Interview: Kelly McMillan and Bank of America’s Refusal to Do Business with Firearms Manufacturers
The Desert Rat 04.23.12
You may have seen my post about McMillan’s dealings with Bank of America. It seems that B of A found McMillan’s line of work distasteful enough that they stopped doing business with McMillan. To demonstrate what a passionate issue this was, that post about McMillan set a one-day traffic record for Desert Rat Outdoors.
A few days after the initial furor, Kelly had this to say, on the McMillan Facebook page:
What a wild three days. It seems as though I have either been answering emails or monitoring what is happening here constantly since Thursday afternoon.
I want to thank everyone. I have tried to keep up with every comment and reply to every message I have received. I have to admit that at times there were so many remarks coming in that I could not keep up. What I do know is that there is a huge number of people who cherish their 2nd Amendment right and are willing to step in and help fight this battle. I want to say Thank you, from everyone at McMillan’s who’s family depends on us being able to continue doing what we do. Thank you for your support of my right to engage in a legal business that provides the means for not only individuals who just love firearms but also to the soldiers, law enforcement, Border Patrol, Secret Service, FBI and so many people who defend us to do their job. We take pride in the fact that we have served this country continuously since 1975 when we made the first M40A1 stock for the Marines.
I know this is not about McMillan. It’s about the possibility of losing our freedom and right to keep and bear arms. If this had happened to any other company I am sure all of you would have been on their web page shouting your allegiance to the cause.
And I want to thank you for that.
Please don’t wake up tomorrow and forget this. Don’t forget to follow through and let this fade into obscurity as so many “causes” do. I haven’t asked anyone to close any accounts or credit cards. If that is how you fight this war, then great. But even if you don’t, find a way to make sure that every time our 2nd Amendment rights are challenged, you become a soldier and do what you can to make sure we defend our rights.
I contacted McMillan in hopes that they would share some comments with my readers. I want to thank Kelly for responding immediately and taking the time to answer some questions.
Q: Were you surprised by B of A’s stance, or have you seen enough of the trend to have somewhat expected it?
A: It took us, my wife who is our CFO and handles the banking and was in the meeting, completely by surprise. We have been happy with B of A for 12 years.
Q: This issue seems to have spread quickly, especially via social media. What has the level of support been like? Have you been surprised by that?
A: I had no idea it would blow up like this when I posted the experience on our Facebook. I just wanted our customers to know what was happening. The support has been tremendous. It showed me that people who are Second Amendment advocates are very passionate about there right and will not go quietly into the night, to steal a line from the movie Independence Day. It truly is amazing.
Q: What kind of impact has this had do you think, on the industry, on the public, and on B of A?
A: Anything that polarizes Second Amendment advocates is a good thing. There has not been a lot of response from the industry. I am not sure why, I am sure the other bigger companies have their reasons for not getting involved. As for B o f A, if everyone who has told me they are going to close their accounts does so, it can’t help but at least open their eyes to how volatile this issue is.
Q: Have you heard from B of A since this all went live?
Q: Do you see this as an isolated affront to Second Amendment issues, or part of a growing trend?
A: It is not the first time it has happened. I know a friend who opened an online store and went through several merchant services providers before he found one that would process transactions for “weapons”. He was selling combat knives.
Q: I believe there’s more to this than Second Amendment issues – McMillan is thriving and creating/preserving jobs in this economy. It is ludicrous for an institution the size of B of A to turn down the business of a vibrant corporation…
A: I agree. I have no idea what the motivation could be other than exactly what I was told, “because we manufacture firearms”.
Q: You stated on Facebook you are worried about the hubbub dying off and the issue getting forgotten. What can we in the public be doing?
A: I suggest that everyone do whatever it is that they are willing to do to make sure that whatever lesson there is to learn here is learned. Don’t talk about it today and go back to business as usual on Wednesday because it might take some effort. Be “all-in” to use a poker term.
One final note – it seems like Bank of America doesn’t mind guns, in certain situations…