After a much-needed and appreciated week off with family, I’m back with a new Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co today, and there was no question about what today’s topic would be once the news broke over the weekend that major credit card companies would soon start highlighting purchases made at gun stores; a move cheered by anti-gun activists, but one that companies like Visa and MasterCard appeared reluctant to make… at least until the latest pressure campaign launched by gun control groups, woke banks, and ant-gun politicians over the past few months.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Mark Oliva joins me on today’s show to share the firearm industry’s reaction to the move, as well as what the new reporting scheme means for gun buyers.
It’s important to note, says Oliva, that the new transaction codes that credit card companies have “voluntarily” adopted don’t actually track what was purchased at a particular store; something that gun control activists will almost certainly soon be calling for. Supposedly these new codes are supposed to help identify “suspicious” purchases, but as Oliva points out, no one’s saying what exactly would deem a particular transaction suspect. A purchase of $40,000 at gun store would probably raise some eyebrows, but if someone buys a boat at a Bass Pro Shop it’s going to be flagged as a “gun store” purchase. My guess is there are going to be far more red herrings than legitimate red flags discovered by these new transaction codes, especially since few active shooters purchased an ungodly number of firearms before they engaged in their cowardly assaults on unarmed victims. I don’t see any real public safety benefit to this at all, to be honest, which makes me wonder if there’s something else that’s really driving this push.
According to Oliva, the answer is yes. As he explains, the gun control lobby is already calling last weekend’s announcement a “first step”, and he believes the next big push will be for these credit card companies to detail the purchases made at gun stores; to “look inside the cart”, so to speak. Again, the stated goal will be to somehow identify potential mass murderers based solely on their purchases at a gun store, but it would also expose tens of millions of Americans to a back door gun registry established and maintained by private companies instead of the federal government.
As Oliva points out, when columnist Aaron Ross Sorkin first called on credit card companies to monitor gun buyers back in 2018, he wanted companies to simply stop doing business with gun stores. This current effort has also seen anti-gun politicians like Carolyn Maloney call into question the ability to purchase guns on credit, and we can expect that refrain to become more common on the left as the gun control lobby keeps up its pressure on credit card companies.
Also disturbing are the selling practices used to push these weapons.
Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the rifle purchased and used by the Uvalde shooter, offers its firearms for sale through a buy-now, pay-later, financing advertised on the front page of its website. pic.twitter.com/K5Q8k1hb6I
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) July 27, 2022
This current effort, like Operation Choke Point initiated under the Obama administration, is part of the broader strategy of going after the right to keep and bear arms by de-normalizing and de-legitimizing the firearms industry (and ultimately gun ownership itself) through both public and private lines of attack; the FDIC in the case of Operation Choke Point, and a conglomeration of gun control groups, blue state politicians, and blue-checked commentators in the ongoing effort targeting credit card companies and the gun owners/cardholders.
Oliva says there will be plenty of unintended consequences if the anti-gunners are successful, including many gun owners simply deciding to use cash instead of credit for their purchases. For some would-be buyers, that delay while they save up their money could be substantial, but Oliva says that gun stores may become more attractive targets for thieves assuming they could get away not only with stolen firearms, but a stuffed cash register or safe as well.
Oddly enough, many Democrats are calling for legislation that would allow the cash-based cannabis industry access to banking services at the same time their anti-gun efforts are aimed at eroding the firearm industry’s own access. As someone who’s pro-legalization, I sympathize with the cannabis industry’s position, but the real problem is that marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, and until that changes banking is just one of the many issues the industry is going to have with establishing legitimacy.
Gun ownership, on the other hand, isn’t just legal in all 50 states; it’s protected by the U.S. Constitution. We’re talking about lawful companies selling legal products to people who have the right to keep and bear them, and if the anti-gun groups get their way not only will they get their back-door gun registry (at least for all purchases with credit cards), but they’ll be able to prevent many Americans on limited or fixed incomes from exercising their right to keep and bear arms entirely by shutting off their ability to purchase a firearm on credit. Might that prevent someone with criminal intent from acquiring a gun? Yes, but it might just as easily prevent a young mother from obtaining a pistol to protect herself and her family. The person with criminal intent, however, can always turn to the black market or try to steal a gun themselves. The law-abiding mom, on the other hand, is going to be left defenseless.
That’s fine with the gun control lobby, which believes that young mom is better off without a gun anyway, but it shouldn’t be up to a gun control group or a credit card company to decide how you get to protect yourself and your family. Oliva notes that the end goal of the gun control groups when it comes to gun ownership and credit cards is awfully Orwellian; comparing it to the recent Colorado incident involving “smart thermostats” that left tens of thousands of residents temporarily unable to change because the local power company had locked them due to an “energy emergency.” Even then, however, those who were locked out had voluntarily signed up for the smart thermostats, and the fine print told them that in exchange for credits on their bill they were giving up some control over the temperature in their homes. There’s nothing voluntary about the push to weaponize credit card companies against gun owners and the firearms industry; just a heavy-handed crackdown on the right of those living paycheck to paycheck to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and unfortunately the gun control lobby has now laid the foundation for the far more intrusive barriers they’re hope to soon put in place.