Gun Control Politicians Want Banks to Snoop on Gun Buyers

(Photo: NSSF)

By Larry Keane

Gun collectors, beware. Certain Members of Congress believe if an individual buys too many guns, too much ammunition, or too many accessories, that person is a potentially dangerous criminal or a “domestic terrorist.”

They also want banks to tell on anyone who might be buying too much.

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), and Jennifer Wexton, (D-Va.) introduced The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, H.R. 5764, in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate as S. 3117. The legislation is troublesome because the politicians authoring it pitch it as a means to detect and prevent those who might be planning to commit an atrocity or terror attack. The bill is fraught with civil liberty violations and not just those freedoms protected by the Second Amendment. Privacy rights – specifically those related to finances – would go by the wayside.

The bill would require the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) to give guidance to banks so they can report “suspicious financial activity.” According to Sen. Markey, this undefined suspicious financial activity could be a warning sign an individual is planning a horrific crime or terror event.

“We cannot allow banks and financial institutions to turn a blind eye as shooters bank a pile of guns and ammunition in a lead up to an attack,” Sen. Markey said in a press statement. “The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act will give us the guidance on how these institutions can help pinpoint and prevent gun violence across the country.”

Government Snooping

The proposed legislation doesn’t define what level of financial activity is suspicious or how many firearms and accessories are “too many” or how much ammunition is “too much.” Instead, it leaves that to be determined by Treasury Department officials. In other words, these Members of Congress would delegate the work defining what would allow the government to peer inside banking records. Those Treasury Department bureaucrats would provide “guidance” to banks to report that “suspicious” activity. Media report gun seizures of several guns as “arsenals,” making anyone owning more than two or three guns seem suspect.

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Like all Americans, those in the firearm industry are concerned about terrorism. Licensed retailers cooperate with law enforcement all the time and report suspicious activity. However, this bill is similar to the federal government snooping around libraries and bookstores to see what books people are reading and what websites are visited. It is a deeply troubling intrusion into the civil liberties of gun owners and the exercise of their Second Amendment rights that should trouble all Americans.

This legislation should be recognized for what it is – another attempt by lawmakers to circumvent civil rights and co-opting financial institutions to advance an anti-gun agenda. The Obama administration illegally coerced banks to unlawfully discriminate against the firearm industry through Operation Chokepoint. That was the effort by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to pressure financial institutions to stop lending and providing banking services to firearm-related businesses by labeling those businesses “high risk” despite having no evidence or justification. Now, Congressional gun control advocates would order banks to spy on their customers for them.

Tried Before, Trying Again

Rep. Wexton and Rep. Dean introduced similar legislation in the last Congress. Their bill was H.R. 5132, the Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, that Rep. Wexton explained to voters in a town hall would explore “whether credit card transactions could be used as a warning tool for mass shootings,” according to The Prince Williams Times. That was an idea that Shannon Watts endorsed. She, of course, is the head of antigun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action. Watts authored an op-ed in Business Insider pressuring credit card companies to deny purchases for firearm parts, to stem the sale of what she termed “ghost guns.”

It was also an idea that failed presidential and Senate candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke wanted to pursue, after he learned about it from The New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who wrote about it in 2018 and 2017.

The bill is also coming on the heels of the Biden administration being forced to step back from a proposal to monitor financial transactions on every American above $600 on every American bank account. NSSF warned that this was a bad omen for an administration bent on enforcing their radical gun control plan, even if it means sacrificing privacy rights.

Rep. Wexton’s bill moved nowhere in the last Congress. NSSF is working to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere in this one.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Hondo November 11, 2021, 11:52 am

    Yeah bluedouche is one of those self important clowns .

  • Chinch Bugg November 8, 2021, 9:12 pm

    How TF does the bank determine whether I just bought one Colt Python or 10 High Point CF 380s? Just use cash, while you still can. Let’s Go Bank of America!

  • Randall November 8, 2021, 10:03 am

    The new infrastructure bill passed by the house already is hiring more IRS agents to snoop on your transactions. You can thank the RINOs in the House and Senate for helping the Dems pass this bill.

  • The SGM November 8, 2021, 7:23 am

    Any Bank bending to the will , without loudly joining others in the quest to shoot down this Rule or Legislation should suffer mass withdrawals from depositors. It may be a bit minor but temporary inconvenience for the depositor but so be it -buy a bigger safe and bank from home – they aren’t paying much in interest anyway.

  • RICK REEVE November 8, 2021, 4:11 am

    who keeps voting these nazi dicktaters into office we don t have to worry about some commie country taking over the usa the nazi right here have taken it within and people have let them do it

    • Grumpy Old Biker November 8, 2021, 8:06 pm

      Geez, I think maybe I agree with
      you, but not only is your uneducated gibberish difficult to decipher but your tired old comparisons to the Nazis is beyond tedious. Give it up. It’s usually libtards that overuse the Nazi thing. Look up Godwin’s Law, then try to come up with something original.

  • DELCO November 6, 2021, 7:31 pm

    There is no limit to what democrats are going to do until they completely change and ruin every aspect of of our every day lives. Our transportation secretary takes 2 months off while the entire importing /exporting industry is being ruined, our borders no longer exist. We once again rely on communist countries for our oil. The most addictive and lethal drugs ever made are literally flooding our communities and killing entire generations. We are about to pay illegals hundreds of thousands for sneaking into our country. The majority of the media is working for the left, while completely ignoring things like the Afghanistan withdrawal, leaving billions of weapons to our enemies, killing 13 brave Americans, injuring dozens of others. We now are resettling Afghans who we know nothing about into our communities instead of dropping them off in Pakistan . We have a president who can’t stay awake during an international summit. A trillion dollar bogus infrastructure bill is likely to pass which is going to make millions of Americans more reliant on government hand outs then ever before. Oh and basic things like lumber cost 250% more, milk, Gas is approaching $5 gallon . We consistently hear about these white hate groups and how dangerous they are, but they and seem to tell us who they are what states they live in or a single plot or suspect that has been involved in even one incident. At the end of the day trump is am asshole, but at least his policies were Pro American. What we have now is the absolute worst administration in political history Period.

  • John Boutwell November 5, 2021, 6:37 pm

    These criminals need be removed from office, then . . .

  • dit November 5, 2021, 5:27 pm

    They say the left is always projecting, like accusing Trump of Russian Collusion while Biden gets 10 million gifts, so maybe we should read this one as “Lefties want us to pass a law that all Lefties finances need to be examined.” We all look and ask, “How did this nimrod ever get a job?” or “If they are for taxes, where are they hiding THEIR money?” So let’s do it, lets pass a law mandating that every penny received by a lefty politician or any of their relatives out to cousins needs to be examined and explained, not to IRS but to GAO.

  • Pantexan November 5, 2021, 12:09 pm

    Sen. Malarkey!! An appropriate name.
    Let’s Go Brandon!!

  • Jerry Lee November 5, 2021, 9:58 am

    Next, theyll be reading the reciepts right at the checkout, with an eye for who buys their coffeebeans already ground….give’em an inch and theyll go hogwild

  • Clint W. November 5, 2021, 9:27 am

    Bank of America already thinks of us as drug dealers. My son was a traveller and said he used B of A for easy access to his money everywhere. Their policies changed slowly to the point I could not make a cash deposit in my sons account, but I could write a check and have it sit around for 3-5 days waiting to clear. When I inquired about this policy, I was told it was a Federal guideline to find money moving due to drug sales. i went to my bank and my credit union and they said they never heard that one, the only time they have to report to the Feds is deposits of 10K bucks or more, something that has been around for quite a while now.

  • graceythecat November 5, 2021, 7:33 am

    Yes it is easier to watch law abiding citizens than to catch the criminals the communist democrats support and use as their brown shirt army!

  • Anthony Romano November 5, 2021, 7:33 am

    I try and pay cash for all firearm related purchases, some places will give a cash discount so they don’t have to pay the 3-5% CC fee on their end. That said sometimes I just don’t have the cash and I have to use a CC. This bill has to be defeated!!

    • krinkov545 November 5, 2021, 9:20 am

      More poopypants Brandon and all commies need to be defeated.

  • Dr Motown November 5, 2021, 6:42 am

    “Progressives” love to snoop, spy, and CONTROL everything…..and too many on the “R” side give in to them in the spirit of “compromise” and “cooperation.” SMH

  • bobs your uncle November 4, 2021, 3:59 pm

    A few years ago a credit card company stopped my use of bank cards and one fuel card, I called them and they said they didn’t like the way I was using the cards, to them it appeared I was living off the cards, I had also purchased three firearms and around six hundred rounds of ammunition. I tried to explain that we had just lost all of our possessions and home in a wild fire along with 250 other people in our area, outside of this context I can kinda see what it must have looked like to them, but we lost everything we had the clothes we were wearing and needed everything. To the banks I would say, want to be a source for justice? Try not making criminals out of innocent people.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment November 3, 2021, 1:14 pm

    I’m sure those terrorists you want to ferret out will write in the memo part of the check “for unbridled carnage” so you can catch them……

    • Blue Dog (he/him) November 3, 2021, 3:00 pm

      Wait, you still write checks, paul? Are you what Randy Travis described as a better class of loser who doesn’t pay his bills on home computers?

      • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment November 4, 2021, 5:04 am

        I guess I am in your eyes…..so whats your point?

        • Blue Dog (he/him) November 4, 2021, 4:00 pm

          No problem. A better class of loser suits me just fine.

          • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment November 5, 2021, 8:21 am

            I understand your obvious confusion, I make allowances for that. Not hard to tell that you are a bit off on your geographical location, the need to seek validation for something by using he/him, and the fact you missed the point of my original comment…..

          • krinkov545 November 5, 2021, 9:23 am

            Oh great another preferred pronoun psycho. The days are coming where your kind and LETS GO BRANDON! types shall not inhabit the earth forever. I can’t wait!

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