A number of pro-2nd Amendment groups have condemned a series of letters written by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel encouraging both Bank of America and TD Bank not to honor credit lines with gun manufacturers, but so far, Emanuel is not facing any legal action for his interference in a private contract.
Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a letter from his office to two banks, Bank of America and TD Bank, asking each to suspend doing business with gun manufacturers in the hope that this will pressure these companies into helping gun legislation pass. Emanuel's letter to TD Bank read in part:
TD Bank currently aids the gun manufacturing industry through a $60 million revolving line of credit with Smith and Wesson, a gun manufacturer that manufactures the AR-15-an assault weapon that was used by James Holmes to kill 12 people and wound 58 in a crowded movie theater in Aurora. I ask you to use your influence to push this company to find common ground with the majority of Americans who support a military weapons and ammunition ban and comprehensive background checks. Companies like Smith and Wesson should be part of the solution, as they were when we greatly expanded the use of safety locks.
In response, Chris Cleveland, Chairman of the Chicago Republican Party issued a scathing response calling Mayor Emanuel’s letter a threat.
On Friday, the Mayor sent a threatening letter to two local banks asking them to stop doing business with gun manufacturers.
The Mayor is a thug who threatens local businesses. Last year, he supported the denial of a license to Chick Fil A because he disagreed with its stance on gay marriage. He later threatened to withhold a government grant to the Cubs when the owners were considering a contribution to a conservative group. And now he's threatening banks who disagree with him on guns. In each case, he has used government money or licensing to crush dissent.
In all cases, businesses that get threatened back down if they know what's good for them.
It's time for this behavior to stop.
The Chicago Republican Party filed suit in federal court last year after Mayor Emanuel suggested that Chick Fil A would have a hard time getting approved for a license in the City of Chicago because of CEO Dan Cathy’s stance that he believes that marriage should continue to only be between one man and one woman.
The Chicago Republican Party has not filed a suit yet in this case.
Speaking on Fox News with Megyn Kelly on Monday, Jay Sekulow, head of the American Center for Law and Justice, said that in his opinion Mayor Emanuel was acting unlawfully by interfering with a private contract.
To interfere with the contractual relationship between Bank of America, or any other bank for that matter, and a manufacturer of an item-here guns, that are protected by the second amendment…To interfere with their contractual relationship, here their funding, is tortious interference.
According to the legal website Legal Match, tortious interference is defined as follows:
Wrongful or Tortious Interference with Contracts occurs where a person causes a party to commit a breach of contract, or where the person has disrupted the ability of a party to perform their obligations under a contract. It is also known as "tortious interference with contract rights" or "intentional interference with contractual relations." The person causing the interference (the "tortfeasor") is usually a third party who is not included in the contract.
Speaking with Megyn Kelly on Tuesday, former judge Andrew Napolitano concurred with Sekulow.
It’s not legal, Megyn. There are a couple of clauses in the Constitution, some well-known and some not so well known that would prohibit this. One of the clauses is the contract’s clause, and it basically says that state governments or city or municipal governments that are formed in the states cannot interfere with contracts that are lawfully made.
In this case, Emanuel implied that two credit lines, one for $25 million and another for $60 million, be closed as a means of pressuring the banks and the two gun manufacturers into getting on board with new gun control laws.
Rebecca Acevedo, from the media relations department at TD Bank, declined to comment to Front Page Magazine in response to Mayor Emanuel’s letter. An email to the media relations department at Bank of America by Front Page Magazine was left unreturned.
Last year, the Second Amendment Foundation won a landmark ruling against the City of Chicago, and its long-standing ban on all handguns. That group has not yet made a statement or legal filing in response to Mayor Emanuel’s recent letter.
Bank of America is no stranger to controversy involving the second amendment. Last year, in a story from The Daily Caller, a gun manufacturer named the McMillan Group International said that Bank of America asked the gun manufacturer to close out its accounts with B of A. In the Daily Caller story, B of A cited the company’s manufacture of guns as the reason they wanted the relationship to end.
Just three weeks ago, another gun manufacturer, American Spirit Arms, had their accounts frozen by Bank of America as well.
Last year, there were over five hundred murders committed with handguns in the City of Chicago. In fact, more people died by gun in the City of Chicago in 2012, than did American soldiers in Afghanistan. This happened even though the City of Chicago has some of toughest anti-gun laws in Chicago. Even as Mayor Emanuel grandstands for tougher gun laws, his term has failed to address the problem of gun violence in the City of Chicago in any way.
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