Beto O’Rourke was a hotshot for the Democrats when he was running against Ted Cruz for a Texas Senate seat. Because of his broad support from around the country–which did him no good in the election itself, apparently–he was pressed to consider a presidential run. He decided to do it, and now he’s a flailing candidate who has decided to center his campaign on the issue of guns.

So far, he’s basically taken the worst of other candidates ideas and embraced them as his own, but now he’s ready to branch out. Now, he’s saying its the credit card companies’ fault that mass shooters get guns.

In other words, he wants to push private companies to regulate their customers’ purchases and is saying it’s their fault these mass killings have happened.

Uh, no.

First, the transactions have almost universally been legal transactions, thus there is no culpability for the credit card industry in this issue at all. Yes, many may have purchased those guns with credit cards. Do you know who else uses credit cards to buy guns? Tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens who did nothing wrong.

He’s also ignoring the logistical nightmare it would be for credit card companies to even begin to regulate these kinds of things.

For example, “sales w/o background checks.”  Let’s take a look at what just this one thing would involve.

First, you have to understand that the only lawful sales without background checks are face-to-face transfers between individuals. That means if someone is going to accept credit cards, they have to do it through some kind of setup other than a gun store’s credit card service. For example, using Square or some similar service or through another business’ credit card service. How are the credit card companies remotely going to know what that item is? If a plumber accepts a credit card for the Glock 19 he’s selling and runs the card through whatever he usually uses–this creates accounting issues, but that’s a different matter–how is Visa supposed to know it’s for a gun without a background check and not for unclogging a toilet?

Easy, they don’t.

Every sale at a gun store–the logical place to assume credit card transactions are for guns–receive a background check. Anything beyond that, though, credit card companies are clueless about.

In order to do so, a credit card company would be forced to ask what the item being sold is for. This creates privacy concerns and would likely repel customers away. After all, husbands would prefer their wives not find out about the online adult entertainment they purchased while traveling for work, so why use a given card if they’re going to ask those kinds of questions?

Even if they do ask, though, what mechanism can they make sure that everyone is honest? If I know someone’s Visa won’t allow a purchase for my used handgun, what’s to stop me for saying I’m selling a lawnmower? (Edited to add that even under this scenario, there’s not likely to be very many such transactions made every year. The vast majority of these face-to-face transfers are cash anyway, making this such a stupid non-issue it’s not even funny.)

Honestly, the entire idea is beyond ridiculous. It’s really how we know that O’Rourke isn’t a serious candidate in the least. Instead, he’s just throwing out any anti-gun suggestion that crosses his mind, regardless of how impossible it is to implement.

O’Rourke needs to slink back into obscurity where he belongs.