USA: Investigation finds credit cards crucial to financing mass shootings; banks say not their responsibility to track gun purchases

Author: Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, Published on: 27 December 2018

USA: Investigation finds credit cards crucial to financing mass shootings; banks say not their responsibility to track gun purchases

"How banks unwittingly finance mass shootings," 24 Dec 2018

A New York Times examination of mass shootings since the Virginia Tech attack in 2007 reveals how credit cards have become a crucial part of the planning of these massacres. There have been 13 shootings that killed 10 or more people in the last decade, and in at least eight of them, the killers financed their attacks using credit cards... Banks and credit-card networks say it is not their responsibility to create systems to track gun purchases that would allow them to report suspicious patterns. But the financial industry is uniquely positioned to see, if it chose to do so, a potential killer’s behavior in a way that retailers, law enforcement officials, concerned family members or mental health professionals cannot.

... “We do not believe Visa should be in the position of setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods or services,” said Amanda Pires, a Visa spokeswoman. “... Asking Visa or other payment networks to arbitrate what legal goods can be purchased sets a dangerous precedent.” A spokesman for Mastercard echoed that sentiment, emphasizing its protection of “cardholders’ independence” and the “privacy of their own purchasing decisions.”... After the school shooting in Parkland, Citibank and Bank of America said they would no longer finance or advise gun manufacturers, while investment firms like BlackRock and pension funds like Calpers, the retirement fund for public employees in California, said they would demand more information from the gunmakers they invested in. Several payment systems — including PayPal, Square and Apple Pay — already had established rules that ban the sale of guns and gun-related items using their systems. But no bank has instituted a ban or committed to tracking gun purchases. [Also refers to American Express, Dick's Sporting Goods, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Wells Fargo]

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Related companies: American Express Apple Bank of America BlackRock CALPERS Citibank (part of Citigroup) Citigroup Dick's Sporting Goods eBay JPMorgan Chase MasterCard PayPal (part of eBay) Square Visa Inc. Walmart Wells Fargo