One of the most discussed topics in the shooting sports in recent weeks has been the report by McMillan Group International of being dropped as a customer by Bank of America because McMillan manufactures firearms. We at NSSA-NSCA headquarters have received numerous calls and emails from members to inquire about the legitimacy of the claims and our position on the controversy.
We have no first-hand knowledge of the incident in question, either from McMillan or Bank of America. Like most of you, we only know what we have read and heard in the media and from the statements of both parties, as well as what our own experience with Bank of America has been.
It was a post by Kelly McMillan, Director of Operations for McMillan Group International, on the company’s Facebook page that set off the storm of attention:
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing and McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today (April 19, 2012) Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking came to my office. He scheduled the meeting as an “account analysis” meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them. He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.
At this point I interrupted him and asked “Can I [possibly] save you some time so that you don’t waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer [want] my business.”
“That is correct” he says.
I replied, “That is okay, we will move our accounts as soon as possible. We can find a 2nd Amendment friendly bank that will be glad to have our business. You won’t mind if I tell the NRA, SCI and everyone I know that BofA is not firearms industry friendly?”
“You have to do what you must” he said.
“So you are telling me this is a politically motivated decision, is that right?”
Mr. Fox confirmed that it was. At which point I told him that the meeting was over and there was nothing left for him to say.
I think it is [important] for all Americans who believe in and support our 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms should know when a business does not support these rights. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. When I don’t agree with a business’ political position I can not in good conscience support them.
That post has now been shared thousands of times on social media pages. McMillan has subsequently stated that it will no longer be accepting Bank of America credit cards as payment for its products.
Bank of America followed with a response on its own Facebook page that is widely assumed to refer to the McMillan allegations:
We want to let you know that we hear your comments and questions regarding one of our customers. While we cannot discuss the details of any individual client we work with, we can assure you the allegations being made here are completely false. Bank of America does not have a policy that prohibits us from banking clients in this industry. In fact, we have numerous, longstanding customers in the industry.
We are also extremely proud of our support of the US military and reject any assertion to the contrary. We count as clients many companies that provide for our nation’s defense. We employ thousands of veterans, Guardsmen, and Reservists, and plan to increase our hiring this year.
Indeed, NSSA-NSCA members should know that Bank of America has provided financial contributions to NSCA and Team USA. It has also been noted in many reports that Bank of America does business with numerous firearms-related companies, including Freedom Group, encompassing Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, and other brands.
McMillan has been interviewed by many media outlets, both in the shooting industry and mainstream. Gerri Willis of Fox Business conducted this interview:
Here’s another interview with radio host Cam Edwards of NRANews and Sirius XM Patriot:
In the April 29 “Gun Talk” radio show, host Tom Gresham interviewed McMillan, who had since met with another Bank of America official whom he identified as Mr. Fox’s boss. According to that account, McMillan was told that his company’s business was no longer welcome but that it was a “business decision based on the current economy.”
McMillan says his company has never missed a payment or bounced a check, and that the company’s debt is about 60% of its credit line. He said the company is experiencing its best year of business in many years.
Gresham said his show invited Bank of America to participate in the on-air interview with McMillan. The bank declined but did provide a statement indicating that the “allegations on social media sites are false.” The statement further said that upon review of the situation, the bank believed there was a “misunderstanding with this client and we will reinforce our policies with our team.”
Finally, we consulted the website many consider the authority on urban legends, rumors, and misinformation for their take on this controversary – Snopes.com. Their conclusion: Undetermined.
Because this story became public in social media and continues to be discussed there, we suggest that those interested monitor each party’s statements on their respective Facebook pages, Facebook.com/McMillanGroupInternational and Facebook.com/BankofAmerica – then draw your own conclusions.