Hochul urges credit card companies to "do their part"

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

As governor of New York, Kathy Hochul has a lot of influence on the financial industry. Most such companies are based in New York, after all, which means state regulations can be tantamount to federal rules. What’s more, everyone knows this to be true.


Lately, Hochul has been on an anti-gun tear. Any hopes she’d be even marginally better than her predecessor have long since gone out the window.

Now, she’s telling credit card companies they need to “do their part” for gun control.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is urging Visa, American Express, and Mastercard to take action and “do their part” for gun control.

On Tuesday Hochul tweeted:


Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about Hochul and New York’s efforts to pressure credit card companies to revamp how they classify purchases. However, she’s doing it personally and publicly, and that’s a problem.

You see, while the law currently has credit card companies reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement, that only typically includes financial crimes. After all, finance is their business and so they’re equipped to know the warning signs for things like money laundering and fraud.

But how do you define “suspicious activity” with regard to gun sales?


For example, is someone who just bought an AR-15 suspicious? What about someone who just purchased a thousand rounds of ammo? Are they planning an attack or do they shoot enough that it just makes sense to buy it in bulk and save a few bucks?

What about a gun that buys a handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun along with a ton of ammo? Surely he’s up to something, right? More likely, he’s taking up three-gun shooting competitions for fun and is getting ready to compete.

I had a friend who, upon getting a new job, went and bought a lot of guns in a very short period of time. To some, that would look suspicious, but it was really just a combination of finding good deals in a short period of time and finally having the extra money to spend on a hobby.

And yet Hochul would have had his credit card company flag this as suspicious, apparently.

The truth of the matter is that credit card companies aren’t equipped to determine a suspicious purchase of a firearm or not.

But let’s say Hochul gets her way and they start flagging gun sales as different than literally every other good–and they will have to code each product, not just guns. Well, people will just use the cash advance feature on their card, pay for the gun that way, and the company is just as clueless as they were before.

You see, financial institutions as a whole are on the lookout for certain crimes because they have to be done through the financial system. It’s practically a requirement.


Gun sales, however, aren’t potential crimes. It’s the exercising of a constitutional right and one that many of us don’t trust the government to know about. If our credit card companies are going to start snooping, people will simply find a way around them and do so lawfully.

The truth is that Hochul has been on a kick of everyone having to keep track of who buys or even has guns. The issue here is really that credit card companies aren’t tracking sales in general–not suspicious sales but any sales at all–and she’s likely wanting to change that.

However, I’m going to point out that her “everyone has to do their part” bit is really a veiled threat to these companies. If they don’t do it voluntarily, then don’t be surprised of Hochul and her cronies try to make them.

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