This is such a lightly reported reality, for more than 50 years, the United States government has given banks the legal tools they need to snoop into the private affairs of their customers. And now, they are monitoring the exercise of citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO, headquartered in Switzerland) has made it possible for U.S. banks to start building databases on their customers’ purchases of firearms and ammunition. And they are ready and willing to share that information with federal law enforcement. They say this is a public service to identify “mass shooters.”
This very real invasion of privacy began with the enactment of the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, which mandated that banks assist federal law enforcement in uncovering, investigating, and ultimately prosecuting violations of federal law.
According to the Treasury Department, which has the primary responsibility for the enforcement of these regulations, the main focus now is money laundering. But the whole system now gives the bank access to any customer activity that the bank employees might consider to be suspicious. The form the bank is to fill out on a customer is called a “Suspicious Activity Report” or “SAR.”
The Patriot Act has given these bank “secrecy” laws a shot of adrenaline. And this has created problems for banking customers.
Those customers who operate lawful businesses overseas or have transactions with foreign businesses overseas are especially troubled. Banks have often decided that it was just easier to close down customers’ accounts that have overseas connections rather than run the risk of coming under “suspicion” from the government.
It won’t be long before your hometown back will be filing even more secret Suspicious Activity Reports with the feds, or they might just close down your account the next time you buy guns or ammunition.