Tuesday, March 26, 2019

‘Second Amendment auditors’? Huh?

A new activity going on in Oklahoma, and of which bankers should be aware, is called “First and Second Amendment Auditors.”

In the past week, these groups have invaded the community and one of the banks in Beaver. Another invaded Bank of Oklahoma here in Oklahoma City.

Patrick Roth, aka “News Now Patrick,” videoed his trip to the local courthouse, sheriff’s office, a natural gas plant and The Bank of Beaver City. Roth was approached by law enforcement agencies, failed to produce some identification when requested, and was then arrested for obstruction. A few days later his “friends” organized a protest in Beaver.

The few government locations in Beaver, as well as some of the town’s private businesses, prepared for this invasion as best they could. The state’s highway patrol put together a special task force with more than 25 officers from across the state in an effort to implement a plan to minimize any disruption. Moreover, the OSBI was present at each of the hearings that came from this protest and public effort.

Gregg Weber, president and CEO at The Bank of Beaver City, called the OBA’s legal and compliance department and asked Mary Beth Guard for advice about what can be done and how the bank should consider responding to this “happening.” The OSBI was also in attendance at each one of the Beaver County hearings.

These so-called “auditors” are making a big push across the Midwest to determine how “friendly” banks and other businesses are to people who openly carry their weapons into banks, government and other buildings.

To say the least, these folks are persistent in their efforts to expose any local business or government entities who are disallowing “open-carry customers.” On the other hand, banks, other financial services entities, small businesses and both state and local governments need to understand how to prepare for these audits and otherwise how to handle them.

It’s not just a “rural” issue. Thursday, News Now OKC posted a video showing how Bank of Oklahoma is handling the open-carry issue. Roth was in one of their locations filming and doing a ‘Second Amendment Audit.” You can check it out here: News Now OKC YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=news+now+okc.

“(Roth) appears to be purposely trying to intimidate bankers and others,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “At least that’s what it looks like to me. We’re trying to make certain that member banks and their employees are aware of these so-called ‘auditors’ and to make certain (bankers) know how best to respond.”