SalesForce recently, and very quietly, updated the software giant’s acceptable-use policy and it’s sending reverberations through the firearms and technology industries. It’s Operation Chokepoint all over again, except it’s coming from a select few technology insiders most Americans have likely never heard of before.
The customer-management system’s executives claim to be standing on their corporate foundational principles. They’re really walling off the industry that provides the means for American citizens to exercise basic constitutional rights. What gun control advocates can’t achieve through the legislative process they’re attempting to do through corporate fiat—policy making from the penthouse boardroom. A quick examination of SalesForce’s new policy restrictions proves this.
They list a series of disqualifying cosmetic features commonly found on modern sporting rifles, including semiautomatic rifles capable of accepting detachable magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, flash and sound suppressors. They throw in grenade launchers for good measure. The language is eerily similar to that found in U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 that fellow California Sen. Kamala Harris co-sponsors.
This is corporate virtue signaling at best. At worst, it is an effort to squeeze out of existence the industry that makes it possible for American citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and equip our military and brave law enforcement officers who protect our nation and our communities.
Forbes columnist Bruce Weinstein wrote a column saying the National Shooting Sports Foundation has it all wrong to complain about this. This is just the way capitalism works. He dove into stereotypes of what sort of American owns guns (hint for you, Bruce: even Harris admitted to being a gun owner and I’m pretty sure she’s not a Caucasian, male Republican).
Weinstein likened the firearms industry’s concerns of blatant corporate discrimination to forcing Chick-fil-A to open on Sundays and serve sandwiches with their trademark “my pleasure” service. It’s a nice try, but not quite.
Eating tasty fried chicken sandwiches on the Lord’s day of rest is not an American right. But owning a firearm is, just like the freedom to worship is. Suggesting otherwise is conflating issues. The firearms industry provides the means to exercise a constitutionally protected right. As much as I’d like Chik-fil-A to be mentioned in the Bill of Rights, it’s not.
Let’s put this into terms that Weinstein might find a little closer to home. What happens when SalesForce denies Forbes the use of their products and services because they don’t like something it published? That’s boardroom bureaucrats imposing political views on the lawful products another company sells. Denying the press the ability to exercise Americans’ First Amendment rights would, and should, raise our hackles.
There’s a process for changing public policy and laws. It’s through the ballot box by electing officials to represent our interests in Washington D.C. It’s not done through nameless, faceless, and unaccountable executive elites in corporate high-rises. Weinstein isn’t arguing for capitalism. He’s promoting an oligarchy, where a cabal of businessmen control what we think, whether we own a gun, or Lord forbid, whether we can eat a delicious, crispy chicken sandwich.
SaleForce’s move isn’t new or original. Bank of America and Citibank have made similar decisions. They all announced, in one form or another, they would no longer do business with companies that sell modern sporting rifles or AR-15s. That was enough to catch not just the firearm’s industry’s attention, but also the attention of Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who sent letters to the banking giants’ CEOs in March demanding answers about their discriminatory practices.
“Banks serve customers who are geographically and politically diverse, and it is wrong to use essential banking services as a way to choke off such services to lawful, creditworthy businesses,” Crapo wrote in the letters.
It was also why Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) sponsored the Freedom Financing Act, S. 821, which would prevent financial institutions from accessing taxpayer-subsidized government programs if they are denying banking services to lawful and compliant industries.
What’s closer to the truth is SalesForce is buying onto New York Times’ columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Orwellian notion that credit card companies (and SalesForce) should monitor customer purchases and deny any related to firearms. Visa and Mastercard said this was a dangerous precedent and their role in commerce was to facilitate an efficient process.
SalesForce would be wise to buy off that menu. And try the waffle fries. They’re great.