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Anti-gun group demands Visa, MasterCard flag some gun, ammo purchases as ‘suspicious activity’

Row of handguns. (US Coast Guard Academy/Released)
September 09, 2022

Giffords, an anti-gun organization, is demanding major credit card companies flag some gun and ammo purchases as “suspicious activity.” The group also accused credit card companies of “empowering mass shooters.”

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Last week, Giffords encouraged its supporters to pressure Visa, MasterCard and American Express into flagging “suspicious purchases” in order to “save lives.” Giffords claimed that “the shooters in at least 5 mass shootings have stockpiled guns & ammo using credit cards and killed 145 people.”

Giffords’ website claims that “bad actors” abuse banking systems to obtain “large quantities of firearms and ammunition” and use “the firepower they purchase on bank credit to take innocent lives.”

The website says banks “can and must flag such suspicious activity in the same way that they report known patterns of identity theft, fraud, or human trafficking to law enforcement officials.”

“But to do so, the nation’s nearly 9,000 stand-alone gun and ammunition stores must be categorized under a new and unique Merchant Category Code within the financial system,” Giffords’ continues. “Since no such code currently exists and gun stores are sometimes classified as ‘sporting goods’ retailers, banks have no way of knowing that bad actors are suspiciously purchasing thousands of dollars of firearms and ammunition over a short period of time.”

Giffords accused Visa, MasterCard and American Express of “actively blocking our efforts and standing in the way of life-saving reforms.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul echoed Giffords’ message, tweeting, “Everyone needs to do their part to combat gun violence. @AmericanExpress, @Mastercard & @Visa should categorize firearm purchases & flag suspicious activity – just like they do for millions of other transactions. Together we can help stop gun trafficking & keep New Yorkers safe.”

New York has been looking for new ways to oppose gun rights since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York State was violating the Second Amendment by requiring concealed-carry license applicants prove they have a worthy need to carry guns in public.

Earlier this month, a leaked internal government memo revealed that Hochul directed the state’s law enforcement officers to assume “anyone carrying” a gun is doing so “unlawfully until proven otherwise.”