Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is putting pressure on credit card companies to stop the sale of gun parts and kits to law-abiding citizens.
“American Express, Mastercard and Visa have the ability to go beyond what any law enforcement agency, legislature or city council can accomplish,” District Attorney Gascón said in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“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,” he added.
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Gascón contends that just as credit card companies banded together to prevent their customers from purchasing services on backpage.com, an alleged sex-trafficking website, they can do the same with respect to retailers who sell, for example, 80 percent lowers.
“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,” states the press release. “By prohibiting online payments for ghost guns, the credit card agencies can take meaningful steps to improve public safety.”
Back in Nov., the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the “possession, purchase, sale, receipt and transportation of ‘ghost guns.’”
But apparently, that move wasn’t enough to satisfy city leaders. With Gascón leading the charge, they want the private sector to step in and chill the 2A rights of Angelenos.
Mark Oliva, the director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, indicated that the attorney general is not only overstepping his authority but may even be breaking the law.
“District Attorney Gascón seems to have more interest in flouting and ignoring the laws of our nation than enforcing them,” said Oliva in an email to GunsAmerica. “As an officer of the court, he should already know that public officials pressuring and using the levers of government to discriminate against a Constitutionally-protected industry is illegal.”
“It was illegal when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined the Department of Justice with the FDIC for Operation Choke Point to discriminate against a lawfully-made and sold product because it is politically disfavored,” Oliva continued.
“It is no less wrong and illegal for a government official to use the pressures of his office to force a credit card company or payment processor to deny services to a company because it doesn’t align with District Attorney Gascón’s political ideologies,” said Oliva.
While the threat of so-called “ghost guns” is widely exaggerated, the average time between a gun purchase and its presence on a crime scene is just over seven years, and “ghost guns” is a blanket term that includes street guns that have had their serial numbers filed off not just those that are assembled as part of a DIY kit, they’ve been a major target of anti-gun groups.
In fact, last month, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts wrote an op-ed that sounded an awful lot like Gascón’s press release.
“With federal regulators falling well short of their obligations to the public, credit card companies have an opportunity — and a responsibility — to be part of the solution by refusing to process these dangerous and illegal sales,” Watts said in Business Insider.
“By refusing to process payments for illegal ghost gun kit sales, credit card companies can stand on the right side of history — and show Americans they are willing to put their money where their values are,” Watts concluded.
Is Gascón taking his cues from anti-gun elites like Michael Bloomberg and George Soros?
Oliva thinks so, as he told GunsAmerica, “It is clearer than ever that District Attorney Gascón owes more allegiance to George Soros and his gun control agenda than to the Constitution he swore to uphold and defend.”
Time will tell how American Express, Mastercard, and Visa respond. We know that at least some in the financial sector have not been shy about sticking it to the firearms industry.
In 2018, Bank of America announced it would no longer provide financial services to AR makers. BoA also sold out its customers to the federal government in 2021 following the Jan. 6 protest, turning over private transaction records to investigators for anyone it believed should be probed for “domestic extremism.”
Citigroup has also embraced an anti-gun posture, announcing in 2018 that it would refuse to provide financial services to retail stores that sell guns to adults under 21 or whose inventory includes “high-capacity magazines.”