California Gun Shops Sue PayPal

Blair Gladwin, the owner of one of the gun shops currently suing PayPal, Stripe, and Square in California.
Blair Gladwin, the owner of one of the gun shops currently suing PayPal, Stripe, and Square in California. photo from mercedsunstar.comweb photo

A gun shop owner in Merced, California and his attorney say technology firms are discriminating against him because of the business he’s in.

According to this story from mercedsunstar.com says that Blair Gladwin, who possesses an FFL and operates Gladwin Guns and Ammo, filed a class action lawsuit this month against money transfer service PayPal, Stripe, and Square for denying their online services to his shop.

The story says that the companies required Gladwin to reveal what his business sells. Once he did so, his account was terminated, according to the suit filed in Merced County Superior Court.

"They basically flat out shut me down," he told the paper. Gladwin opened the shop in 2000. "My livelihood is on the line, because my revenue is going to drop."

The story says each of the technology vendors has policies that prohibit the sale of guns, ammunition, or other gun-related products.

The story says none of the companies in question responded to the paper's requests for comment.

“It’s convenient,” he said about using credit cards. “I think these (transfer services) are kicking them selves in the ba—. Honestly, how much more money would they make?”

The story says that emotions might play a part in the policies more than practicality.

“The ‘battle’ comes down to how many conservative central San Joaquin Valley residents feel about guns, Gladwin said, compared to liberal Bay Area companies and state lawmakers. California last year passed a slew of new gun laws in a state that already has some of the strictest in the nation.”

By the letter of the law, none of that may matter. According to California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, it's against the law to discriminate against people based on occupation.

"Refusing somebody you don't want to serve is itself illegal," said William McGrane, Gladwin's attorney.

The suits ask the court to mandate services to gun dealers and award no less than $5 million per company, plus court costs.

The story says the case is a little bizarre because though the suits were filed in Merced, none of the companies named have a physical presence in the location.

"We have the option of bringing it in either San Francisco or Santa Clara, depending on the defendant," McGrane said in the story, "but we don't think those counties have the same respect for gun rights that Merced County and the counties in the Valley have."