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 governor seeking to remove Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol Virginia lawmakers ask governor to remove state's Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA 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 CastenHouse votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap Pelosi warns of 'existential' climate threat, vows bold action Pelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention MORE (Ill.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyTrump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Democrats 'utterly unpersuaded' by evidence behind Soleimani strike MORE (Va.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Judiciary Committee abruptly postpones vote on articles of impeachment Impeachment inquiry enters critical new phase MORE (Pa.) and Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsSanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Biden endorsed by four more members of Congressional Black Caucus The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Dramatic day as House heads toward impeachment vote MORE (Fla.), and by Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonBicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Maloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman MORE (D-D.C.).