At Newsweek: Credit Card Companies Join Democrats’ Gun Control Scheme

Sep 13, 2022 | op-ed

Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed with Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY).

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Democrats aim to create a comprehensive national list of gun owners. In a major victory for gun control advocates, American Express, Mastercard, and Visa agreed to help the government track firearm sales.

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Federal law explicitly prohibits the creation of a federal firearm registry, and it requires that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System erase background check information within 24 hours of completion and that it not keep a database. Yet in 2016, the Government Accountability Office called out the Obama administration for holding on to the data, and the Biden administration continues to compile digital records.

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has collected nearly one billion firearm purchase records from gun dealers who have gone out of business. The government has now digitized the records of nearly 866 million transactions, including some 54 million from 2021 alone.

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Countries such as Canada, the U.K., and Australia use registration to ban and confiscate guns—and they aren’t alone. California, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., have also used registration to learn who legally owned different types of guns before banning them.

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Credit card companies can help fill in the gaps regarding recent purchases of guns and ammunition. And they have presumably agreed to do so in hope of protecting themselves from lawsuits. Supposedly, this will make Americans safer. Last Wednesday, Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul claimed that credit card companies flagging “suspicious activity” was important “to combat gun violence.” Other gun control advocates say they want to track “suspicious” sales that “could potentially lead to a mass shooting.”

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Given that gun buyers who use credit cards have already passed background checks to see if they can legally buy guns, what “suspicious” activities could credit card companies possibly look for? Is buying two or three guns evidence of suspicious activity? The majority of mass public shootings since 1998 only used one gun. Do you look for people who buy AR-15s, America’s most popular rifle? Put aside that even the Associated Press now recognizes that these aren’t “weapons of war” and are no different than other hunting rifles, only rarely do mass public shootings involve rifles and no other type of firearm.

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Should we be suspicious if someone purchases a couple hundred rounds of ammunition? People can easily use that many rounds at a shooting range in an afternoon.

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The credit card companies likely compiled the information because they were worried that, if someone used their cards to buy guns later used in a crime, they would be sued.

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Despite what people see on TV crime shows like Law & Order, gun registration doesn’t help law enforcement solve crimes. Police in jurisdictions from Hawaii to New York that have had registration for decades can’t point to any crimes that they have been able to solve. Even entire countries such as Canada haven’t had success. If guns are left at a crime scene and are registered to the person who committed the crime, it is possible to trace the gun back to the criminal. But guns are virtually never left at crime scenes, and in the few times they are, they aren’t registered to the person who committed the crime.

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So why do Democrats keep calling for a costly policy that does nothing to reduce crime? Why do they insist on knowing who owns which guns?

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If Republicans take control of Congress in November, they will be able to investigate these actions and pass budget restrictions that prevent the Biden administration from compiling its registration list.

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John R. Lott, Jr. and Thomas Massie, “Credit Card Companies Join Democrats’ Gun Control Scheme,” Newsweek, September 13, 2022.

Here is another quote that we have just become aware of. How this helps is not clear at all. What exactly are you supposed to look for besides a credit card being used?

“Mass shooters have repeatedly financed deadly massacres using credit cards, and Bank CEOs need to step up to save lives,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “Financial institutions and payment networks, such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express can and should do everything they can to help law enforcement prevent some mass shootings by identifying suspicious gun purchases through the implementation of this new code.”

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