New York legislators are seeking to make it easier for gun shops to spot credit card purchases. Gothamist reports that at least 48 Empire State legislators have written to MasterCard and American Express asking for purchase codes for ammunition and guns. Although there are unique codes for certain purchases, many companies only track the location of the purchase. MasterCard currently does not have a code to allow the purchase of firearms. They want such a code to become law. The move is proposed by proponents because it would make it easier for gun traffickers to be targeted and prevent mass shootings.
New York politicians are keen to track suspicious purchases. Gothamist notes that such reporting is required by the Bank Secrecy Act which was further enhanced by the Patriot Act. This is used in cases of money laundering or suspected terrorist activity, as well as tax evasion. A New York Times article highlighting mass shooting incidents involving gun and ammunition purchasers via credit cards is one of the impetus.
Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-20th) is leading the effort. Myrie wrote an opinion piece for the New York Daily News back in August. He opposes bail reform and the “Nixon-era” approach to law enforcement and orders. He stated that constituents told him they feel they are “overpoliced” and “unprotected”. He suggested that Democrats should recognize that perception is reality.
Myrie stated that the New York legislature had passed laws that could survive appeals since the Supreme Court’s ruling on guns. It also passed a law that holds gun manufacturers responsible if a gun made by them is used in a crime or if they don’t keep records of sales. He also criticized the GOP for not supporting bail reform and failing to protect communities against gun violence. Myrie stated that legal gun buyers with no ill intent and legally purchased guns would not have anything to worry about.
Critics highlight the fact background checks are an integral part of purchasing weapons. Gothamist reports that a gun shop owner in New York City already limits purchases. There are also concerns about this being an attack on the Second Amendment as well as a backdoor attempt to create a gun registry.
There are many other questions. What will happen to the records? Who will be responsible for their custody? What will be the procedure for applying these red flags? Will someone who is a registered Republican (also known as a MAGA semi-fascist) be flagged by the ATF for a visit? What about hunters and sports shooters? You might argue that someone going out trap shooting for a day will buy just a few shells, rather than a large purchase of ammunition. A gun dealer cannot know the motives of someone buying a firearm without profiling. Red flags will be raised not only about the purchase size or type, but also about the websites visited online and political affiliation.
It is obvious that not all people should own guns. A man on drugs shot me at once and was firing at random people from his apartment window. So I get it. But how is this list going to be used? Who will it be used against?