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Democrat unveils bill requiring banks to identify suspicious activity related to guns

Democrat unveils bill requiring banks to identify suspicious activity related to guns
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonVirginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register House advances bill aimed at imports tied to Uighur forced labor This week: Supreme Court fight over Ginsburg's seat upends Congress's agenda MORE (D-Va.) introduced a bill requiring financial institutions to identify and report suspicious or illegal financial activity related to firearms on Friday.

The legislation comes a day after the shooting in a Southern California high school that left two students dead and three injured when a gunman, who also shot himself, opened fire. 

Wexton's state, Virginia, also suffered a mass shooting earlier this year when a gunman killed 12 people and injured four others in Virginia Beach.

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“Banks, credit card companies, and retailers have unique insight into the behavior and purchasing patterns that can help identify and prevent mass shootings. We know that financial intelligence can be an effective tool to combat gun violence in the same way it is for money laundering, human smuggling, and fentanyl trafficking,” Wexton said in a press release.

The move would require banks to report suspicious activity the way they are required to do by the Bank Secrecy Act for money laundering and terrorist financing.

Wexton’s bill, the Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, would direct the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to spend a year collecting financial information in order to issue an advisory to help financial institutions identify suspicious firearms transactions. 

FinCEN, which is a bureau of the Treasury Department, issues public and nonpublic advisories on financial crimes like foreign corruption, human smuggling, cyber crime and fentanyl trafficking. 

The legislation is supported by Everytown for Gun Safety and co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Don Beyer (Va.), Tony Cárdenas (Calif.), Sean CastenSean CastenChamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch The Hill's Campaign Report: Buzz builds around Warren for VP Gun control group rolls out House endorsements MORE (Ill.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyGSA offers to brief Congress next week on presidential transition Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump Biden campaign pushes GSA chief to approve transition MORE (Va.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanEyes turn to Ocasio-Cortez as she seeks to boost Biden Democrats blister Barr during tense hearing Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks MORE (Pa.) and Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Poisoning of Putin opponent could test US-Moscow relationship Florida county official apologizes for social media post invoking Hitler  MORE (Fla.), and by Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE (D-D.C.).