A gun shop owner has filed a lawsuit against Silicon Valley’s tech companies for denying their online money transfer services to his shop, claiming he is discriminated against because he sells firearms.
Blair Gladwin, owner of Gladwin Guns and Ammo and a holder of a federal license to sell firearms, is suing online money transfer giants PayPal, Stripe and Square for discriminating against him and denying him the use of their services, Merced Sun-Star reported.
According to a complaint filed in Merced County Superior Court, after the companies asked him to disclose the nature of his business they terminated his account as they don’t allow selling any gun-related products using their platform.
Gladwin has run his gun shop near Merced, California, since 2000. He sells variety of guns and accessories that are legal in the state.
He recently expanded his sales to online retailers, but says his sales went down after the online money transfer services terminated his account because customers don’t always want to travel to his shop to buy a gun.
“They basically flat out shut me down,” he told the paper. “My livelihood is on the line, because my revenue is going to drop,” adding that “these (transfer services) are kicking themselves in the b—-. Honestly, how much more money would they make?”
The gun shop owner suggests the controversy comes because there’s a difference of opinion towards guns between more conservative residents in his area and liberal Bay Area companies and politicians. As the paper notes, California has been leading the fight for gun control and has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
William McGrane, Gladwin’s attorney in the lawsuit, claims that although people and companies disagree about guns and their control, California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act protects gun shops that have a federal license.
“It’s against the law in California to discriminate against people based on occupation,” he said. “Refusing somebody you don’t want to serve is itself illegal.”
“Essentially it’s political correctness,” he added. “Indeed they do have a desire to regulate something that the government is not allowed to regulate.”
The lawsuit demands the court to compel the Silicon Valley companies to provide services to gun dealers and award at least $5 million per company to Gladwin for damages.
Gladwin’s attorney explained that the lawsuit was filed in Merced, despite the fact that the tech companies are based in the Silicon Valley, because the “harm” to the business happened there.
“We have the option of bringing it in either San Francisco or Santa Clara, depending on the defendant,” the attorney said, “but we don’t think those counties have the same respect for gun rights that Merced County and the counties in the Valley have.”