Monday, April 30, 2018

Wall Street Journal: Banks, Credit Card Companies Explore Ways to Monitor Gun Purchases

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that banks and credit-card companies are discussing ways to identify purchases of guns in their payment systems. According to the Journal, the discussions are preliminary and they note such discussions could be very controversial.
The financial companies have explored creating a new credit-card code for firearms dealers, similar to how they code restaurants, or department stores, according to people familiar with the matter. Another idea would require merchants to share information about specific firearm products consumers are buying, some of the people said.

Such data could allow banks to restrict purchases at certain businesses or monitor them. The talks, which are informal and might not lead to any action, have occurred against the backdrop of the national debate around guns in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high-school shooting, which left 17 dead.
This move comes after both Bank of America and Citicorp announced new policies related to what activies they would finance for gun manufacturers and retailers.  The Journal also spoke to Georgetown University Law Professor Adam Levitin who said concerns raised buy this type of discussion go beyond the gun issue:
“There’s a privacy angle here,” said Adam Levitin, professor of law at Georgetown University. “There’s the slippery slope danger if it’s guns today maybe it is pornography tomorrow and the day after it’s right-wing literature.”
There are already divisions inside the banking industry with BOA and Citi setting out restrictions while Wells Fargo has said it is not up to them to decide what products Americans can buy.  Citicorp CEO Michael Corbat seems to think he gets to decide who are responsible gun owners and who aren't:
CEO Michael Corbat said at that bank’s annual meeting that the policy “is intended to preserve the rights of responsible gun owners like myself, while relying on best sales practices to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.”   
So, since Citi adopted a new code of conduct for gun dealers and manufacturers that includes retailers restricting sales for buyers under age 21, I guess Corbat does not believe anyone 18-20 can be a responsible gun owner, but they are responsible enough to serve in the military or vote.

Read the entire WSJ article.  While these discussions are preliminary, there are some very specific policies being discussed like one large bank discussing with lawmakers potential legislation to require merchants to share information about specific gun-related products consumers are buying with their cards, and credit card companies making specific codes for gun retailers but not for retailers like Walmart which sell other products as well as firearms and ammunition.

1 comment:

m444ss said...

"Cash, check or... well, cash or check?"