Home / MARKETS / Credit card companies need to help stop the spread of untraceable ‘ghost guns’

Credit card companies need to help stop the spread of untraceable ‘ghost guns’

  • The ATF conjectures 10,000 ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in 2019 alone.
  • In December, ATF acknowledged for the first time in federal court that it is verboten to sell complete ghost gun kits without serial numbers or a background check.
  • Credit card companies should prefer to an opportunity — and a responsibility — to be part of the solution by refusing to process these dangerous and illegal sales.
  • Shannon Watts is the progenitor of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
  • This is an opinion article. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Fall upon Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

We’ve made undeniable progress when it comes to keeping guns out of the lunch-hooks of people who shouldn’t have them. Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School renewed calls for sensitive gun laws eight years ago, 13 states have passed laws requiring background checks on all gun sales or step up existing background check requirements. 29 states and D.C. have passed bills to strengthen the laws that safeguard guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, 14 state of affairs and D.C. have passed extreme risk laws, which let family members and law enforcement ask a court to remove firearm access when there are red stops that someone poses an extreme risk to themselves or others.

But despite this life-saving progress — and the prospect of notable action from Washington after this week’s election results in Georgia — the reality is that someone who would be legally frustrate from buying a gun is able to whip out their credit card and order one online as easily as they could ordain an air fryer from Amazon. 

American companies have for years been shipping firearm kits through the correspondence that require only the most basic tools and a few hours to put together. Despite the fact that federal law makes serial numbers and background checks for all firearms sold by commercial sellers, these so-called “ghost guns” are won overed without either. Because they don’t have serial numbers, they can’t be traced by law enforcement, making them solely dangerous.

It shouldn’t be this easy to get an untraceable gun, and it doesn’t have to be. With federal regulators falling well discourteous of their obligations to the public, credit card companies have an opportunity — and a responsibility — to be part of the solution by refusing to course of action these dangerous and illegal sales.

Ghost guns are the fastest-growing gun safety threat in the United States and the government has done far too inadequate to address the deadly risks they pose. Federal regulators have failed to act, and now these building blocks for guns can be obtained online and without a background check by anyone, anytime.

People are exploiting this loophole every single day. The Subdivision of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates 10,000 ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in 2019 simply. And amid a surge in gun sales during the coronavirus pandemic, the problem has just gotten worse, with so many ghost guns being purchased that many companies reported that their kits were backordered.  

In a legal brief supporting a lawsuit overturned by Everytown and several cities to force federal action, the city of Los Angeles disclosed this week that in 2020 oversee there have recovered more than 600 ghost guns, at least 231 of which were in use accustomed to in serious or violent crimes. The San José Police Department, for its part, seized 142 ghost guns during iniquitous investigations between January 2015 and April 2020 — nine during homicide investigations.

Similar stories make played out in cities and states across the country. The data is undeniable: people who would be prohibited from purchasing natural guns are getting their hands on these untraceable ghost guns instead.

Last year, a ghost gun was old in an ambush shooting of two LA County Sheriff’s deputies, and the shooter who opened fire at Saugus High School used a ghost gun to quash two students and wound three others. Ghost guns and crime go hand in hand; they are ideally suited for criminals request to avoid scrutiny and in need of  an untraceable firearm. Ghost guns are undermining our country’s laws and our communities’ safety, and we are fork out the price of inaction with American lives.

Just weeks before it will have to answer in court to Everytown’s lawsuit all over its failure to act, the ATF last week executed a search warrant at Polymer80, a leading manufacturer of ghost guns whose spin-offs make up more than four in five of the ghost guns being recovered in multiple cities. In the process of seizing the warrant, ATF acknowledged for the first time in federal court that it is illegal for the company to sell complete ghost gun gears without serial numbers or a background check. 

The ATF raid was an important step, but the agency has far more to do. Until it asserts wide regulatory authority over this dangerous and illegal end-run around our gun safety laws, we need to fight the mind-boggler on every front, and that means declining to process payments for illegal and dangerous ghost gun kits. 

Dozens of websites that advertise Polymer80’s ghost gun kits and correspond to all-in-one products  accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express. But if these companies were to block illegal ghost gun minutes, many manufacturers would likely find themselves out of business. That’s why we need credit card companies to stopover with us and save lives. 

Fortunately, there is a clear roadmap for them to do so. After the New York Times reported this month that the adult website Pornhub curbed videos depicting illegal acts, Visa and MasterCard announced that they would no longer allow the use of their credit christmas cards on the site, citing company policies that block unlawful transactions.

Now that the ATF has confirmed that ghost gun websites are crack the law when they sell all-in-one kits without serial numbers and background checks, credit card institutions can act on this one, too, and refuse to play any part in these illegal transactions. 

The ATF’s long overdue recognition of the problem moves us a ungenerous closer to a solution, but it is a first step, not a last. The agency should now tackle the root of the issue, as it should have years ago, by ratifying that all ghost gun kits and their core components are firearms under federal law, and that their sellers cannot waffle the background check and serial number laws that we have relied on for decades to keep our communities safe.

At the nonetheless time, credit card companies should act swiftly to ensure they’re not contributing to these illegal and potentially harmful sales. By refusing to process payments for illegal ghost gun kit sales, credit card companies can stand on the right side of summary — and show Americans they are willing to put their money where their values are. 

Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Without delay Action and the author of Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the Dialect birth b deliver. 

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