Yesterday, a bill was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives that would completely defund Operation Choke Point, a federal program that has resulted in a number of legal businesses being cutoff from banking services in an attempt to choke out certain illegal and ‘morally questionable’ businesses from financial services.

H.R. 1413 was introduced by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz. and referred to the Committee on Financial Services as well as the Committee on the Judiciary.

Rep. Schweikert said that the motivation for introducing the legislation came from the firearms industry, who has been one of the main targets of the program. “The firearm industry was unjustifiably targeted by the administration and classified as a “high-risk” industry. As a result lawful businesses here in Arizona and around the nation were forced to shut their doors because their access to banking institutions was choked off,” said Schweikert via a press release.

“It is clear that more needs to be done to protect the Second Amendment and to stop the administration’s targeting of the firearm industry,” he added. “The Firearms Manufacturers and Dealers Protection Act, will fully defund Operation Choke Point and eliminate the potential for similar programs to emerge in the future.”

Operation Choke Point has also affected at least five tobacco retailers across the country, all but one of whom has remained anonymous.

The bill has already garnered nine Republican co-sponsors: Reps. Brian Babin (Texas), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Mike Conaway (Texas), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.) Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Barry Loudermilk (Ga.) and Joe Wilson (S.C.).

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.