California Authorities Urge Credit Cards to Stop Ghost Gun Kit Purchases

L.A. officials urge credit card firms to halt 'ghost gun' payments - Los  Angeles Times

According to the Pew Research Center, the gun death rate in America is higher compared to other developed nations. Mass shootings have happened consistently in different American states these past few years. Nearly 79% or 8 out of 10 of American murder cases in 2020 involved the use of firearms.

And now comes the so-called “ghost guns,” or the build-it-yourself guns that can be sold to anyone. These gun kits are readily accessible and easy to purchase online without the need for a background check. 

With that, felons, people with mental illness or with criminal pasts, and underage citizens can own ghost guns without being detected. Purchasing can be done via portable devices or computers for as low as $350 to $500. With such accessibility, ghost guns are making their way to every region of the country.

Ghost guns have been reported to be involved in shooting incidents and violent-related crimes in several cities. The number of ghost guns recovered in crime scenes has increased over time and has become a major concern for law enforcement.

In Los Angeles County alone, ghost guns have been associated with 24 murders, 20 robberies, 60 assaults, and 8 attempted murders in November 2021. 

While in San Francisco, nearly half of the recovered firearms in 2020 homicide cases were ghost guns. According to LAPD, they have recovered 821 ghost guns in 2020 and 1,921 in 2021, a more than double increase. If not addressed promptly, the number of guns linked to crimes will not stop from growing.

How Credit Card Companies Can Mitigate Sales of Ghost Guns

District Attorney George Gascón of Los Angeles County stated that he wants credit card companies to take action against these purchases. He urged major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and Amex to halt credit card payments related to ghost guns transactions.

The three major credit card companies that cater to the needs of high-risk merchant accounts are responsible for decisions like blocking ghost gun purchase transactions using their cards.

What Makes Ghost Gun Kits Dangerous

If you can purchase and assemble a table, most likely you can build a ghost gun. These rapidly growing gun kits can pose critical risks to public safety because of the following reasons:

  • Foremost, criminals love ghost guns because they are easy to purchase online without being tracked.
  • Secondly, unlike legal and licensed gun manufacturers, ghost guns do not have serial numbers, making it hard for law enforcement to solve crimes.

In just a few hours of watching video tutorials and the enthusiasm of having a new gun, criminals can assemble a deadly weapon at home.

Makers of ghost guns are making use of the gaps in firearms laws. And with the use of advanced technology, developers will come up with cheaper but quality 3D printed guns that can be easily purchased for the joy of lone criminals and organized groups.

Lawmakers should pass legislation to prevent criminals from bypassing the laws regulating firearms. Lastly, high-risk merchant account providers should do their part as well by stopping sales of these ghost gun kits in order to prevent related crimes.