The financial industry has seemingly been at war with the gun industry for the last few years. Yet despite that, credit card companies will still process payments for guns or related items. There’s tension there, to be sure, but business is still being conducted.
However, the district attorney of Los Angeles wants those credit card companies to step in and determine what some people are allowed to buy.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Tuesday that he is calling upon three major credit card companies to once again show responsible corporate citizenship by stopping online payments for the purchase of ghost gun kits.
“American Express, Mastercard and Visa have the ability to go beyond what any law enforcement agency, legislature or city council can accomplish,” Gascón said. “We are asking these companies to join us in stemming the flow of ghost guns into our communities by preventing a ghost gun kit from being sold with a few mere clicks on a smartphone or computer.”
Gascón was joined by Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and San Gabriel Police Chief Gene Harris, who is president of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, in urging the credit card companies to halt the online transactions involving ghost guns.
“It is well documented and beyond dispute that the proliferation of ghost guns has had a debilitating effect on our country, our state and our county,” read Tuesday’s statement. “By prohibiting online payments for ghost guns, the credit card agencies can take meaningful steps to improve public safety.”
Actually, it’s not beyond dispute. So far, all I’ve seen are a lot of claims about “ghost guns” being a problem and numbers of guns recovered, but little context and even less connecting those guns to actual crimes.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say that’s accurate. So what?
Homemade firearms are still legal throughout most of the country. What Gascón expects is for credit card companies to micromanage their customers’ actions and prevent certain purchases without regard to any other facts.
Yes, so-called ghost guns are illegal in Los Angeles.
However, not everyone lives in Los Angeles. For example, many in the military may live elsewhere but continue to get mail at a Los Angeles address. The same is true of those in college or who work in jobs where they’re fairly transient.
Then there are people who use a LA box office for their mail but actually reside outside of the city.
Gascón is asking credit card companies to curtail an act that may well be legal where someone actually lives based on, at most, a mailing address.
Then there’s the fact that a credit card company simply can’t do something like this.
Oh, they can refuse transitions for, say, Polymer80’s website–though they also sell things like T-shirts and parts that can be used on traditionally manufactured guns–but what about dealers who sell kits as well as many other things?
The truth of the matter is that all a credit card company gets is a total for the purchase. They’re not clued in to exactly what was bought, nor should they be. Because of that, though, there’s no way they could actually do what Gascón is asking.
At the heart of it, Gascón is asking credit card companies to do something because his lackadaisical attitude toward actual criminals hasn’t exactly made the City of Angels safer. The city is seeing the worst homicide rate they’ve seen in more than a decade, and this while Gascón refuses to do his job.
So, rather than admit he’s doing anything wrong, he goes with the old tried and true standby of blaming guns and demanding someone else do something.
Credit card companies can’t really do what he’s asking, not without going way out of bounds and likely losing a whole lot of customers in the process.