New York asks credit card companies to reassess risk of gun sales

New York asks credit card companies to reassess risk of gun sales
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New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is reportedly encouraging credit card and banking companies associated with the state pension system to consider upgrading the risk of gun transactions.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that DiNapoli contacted executives last week from Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and other companies to ask them to consider reclassifying gun transactions as high-risk purchases, similar to pornography or illicit drugs.

DiNapoli oversees New York state’s $209.1 billion pension fund for public employees. The pension system owns shares of each of the nine companies DiNapoli contacted.

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He asked the companies to consider implementing systems that could reject purchases of weapons or ammunition.

“If gun violence continues unabated in society — public outcry and calls for action may grow and create significant financial risk for the company,” DiNapoli reportedly wrote to Mastercard. 

DiNapoli’s request comes a couple weeks after Citigroup announced its plans to ask retail clients that use the bank for lending and issue store-branded credit cards to only sell guns to individuals over 21 who have passed a background check and to not sell bump stocks (attachments that increase the rate of fire on semi-automatic guns) or high-capacity magazines.

Multiple companies have independently taken steps to restrict gun sales, including Walmart raising the age limit to buy guns and Dick’s Sporting Goods choosing to stop selling assault-style rifles and stop gun sales to those under the age of 21.

The crackdown on gun sales comes amid a renewed national debate over gun laws following a Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The Trump administration has taken steps to ban bump stocks, signed off on funding for improved background checks and encouraged states to pass laws that would allow authorities to more easily confiscate guns from individuals deemed dangerous.

However, gun control advocates including student survivors from Parkland have demanded more federal action on universal background checks, raising the age requirement to purchase a rifle and banning assault weapons.