Banks, credit card companies explore ways to monitor gun purchases

Banks and credit card companies held informal discussions about identifying transactions involving firearms, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Although the discussions resulted in nothing tangible — and ideas may never come to fruition — ideas tossed would help companies monitor gun purchases, which includes information on buyers, from retailers, the newspaper reported.

Financial companies explored the concept of creating a new credit-card code for firearm dealers, similar to similar to how restaurants or department stores identify their transactions, the newspaper reported. Another idea would require retailers to share info about specific firearm products purchases.

Gun rights advocates have expressed fears that storing such data on gun sales could lead to other nefarious activities by powerful entities. The federal government is already limited in their ability to track them, per federal law.

The government houses information about firearms that enter commerce. When a consumer buys a gun from a licensed dealer, the dealer logs the transaction by identifying who bought the gun and what kind. That information creates a literal paper trail (because the government cannot keep electronic records), so law enforcement officials can see how a gun when used in a crime began circulating.

Since February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, financial companies have been under pressure to act in lieu of government action, since lawmakers have been unable or unwilling to pass new gun control laws.

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