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 WextonRepublicans face worsening outlook in battle for House Ocasio-Cortez rejects Yoho apology as disingenuous Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 CastenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Buzz builds around Warren for VP Gun control group rolls out House endorsements Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary MORE (Ill.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyCongress must enact a plan to keep government workers safe Trump's postmaster general is playing with political fire USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (Va.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanDemocrats blister Barr during tense hearing Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks Behind every gun law is a mom marching for her children MORE (Pa.) and Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsFlorida county official apologizes for social media post invoking Hitler  Comedian Joel McHale: Reach out and help local restaurants, wear masks with your favorite message; Frontline Foods's Ryan Sarver says we are in inning 3 of the COVID-19 ballgame Bottom line MORE (Fla.), and by Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonSheila Jackson Lee: Harris has 'taken us to the mountaintop' in Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermon Congress must enact a plan to keep government workers safe DC delegate demands answers from Secret Service about treatment of two Black moms on Mall MORE (D-D.C.).