Gun industry noticing new trend affecting their business
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – At first glance, you could easily be reminded of school shop class. There are tools, vice grips, and all sorts of equipment to makes things. It’s also hot.
However, this isn’t school. And you certainly didn’t make the kind of things you see hanging on shelves and in boxes throughout the room.
“This is a V 94 pistol,” said Jason Maughan.
Maughan is the owner of Vector Arms in Salt Lake County.
He has been working for the company since 2005 and became the owner in 2011.
“We build guns. We put together old military style weapons,” he said.
Maughan has helped build the company to the point where he now has thousands of dealers he sells to across the country.
Times, though, aren’t easy.
“Incredibly tough. We run on less than a 2-percent margin,” said Maughan. “I have held my own. I wouldn’t say I’m successful. But I’m still here.”
The tougher sales climate isn’t so much because of the constant gun debate happening in America right now between Democrats, Republicans, and everyone in between. It’s more because corporations are now getting involved – specifically banks.
“I think very few people know about this,” said Maughan. “Only people in the industry, who are kind of dealing with it.”
Many big banks and payment processing firms are deciding not to handle, or restrict, transactions dealing with gun companies.
Senate Banking Committee chairman Mike Crapo, a Senator from Idaho, has written letters to Bank of America and Citigroup criticizing them for their corporate decisions to restrict the sales of guns and gun parts by its business customers after the Florida high school shooting in February.
It happened to Maughan and he’s still dealing with it.
“If they find out it’s a gun sale, they usually just try to cancel your merchant account and start all over again,” he said. “When they shut down your bank account, you can’t even take checks. You can’t take anything, so you’re out of business, basically.”
Maughan said he agrees companies should be able to do business with whoever they want to deal with.
It’s just, he feels like something isn’t right because he’s not doing anything illegal.
“When you’re federally licensed, and the federal government is overseeing and making sure we are not breaking any laws or regulations, why are we treated like the criminals? I only sell to federally licensed FFL holders around the nation,” said Maughan.
KSL contacted several other local gun manufacturers and dealers.
They didn’t want to comment publically on this story because of the current political climate involving guns, but many of them said they are hearing, and have dealt with similar issues involving banks and payment processing firms.
For Vector Arms, Maughan said it’s costing him business, and as a small business owner, it hurts his bottom line.
“It is my livelihood and it’s not an easy livelihood,” he said. “I bring money in from all over the United States and I distribute out to the people working here and put it right directly into the economy.”
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