The New York Times (NYT) is pressuring credit card giants to monitor customers’ buying habits and blacklist gun purchases.
The Times suggests banks are “unwittingly financing mass shootings” by allowing individuals to use their cards to buy firearms and related accessories.
The NYT observes:
Two days before Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, he went on Google and typed “Credit card unusual spending.” Mr. Mateen had opened six new credit card accounts — including a Mastercard, an American Express card and three Visa cards — over the previous eight months. Twelve days before the shooting, he began a $26,532 buying spree: a Sig Sauer MCX .223-caliber rifle, a Glock 17 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, several large magazines, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a $7,500 ring for his wife that he bought on a jewelry store card. His average spending before that, on his only card, was $1,500 a month.
They pivot to the June 20, 2012, Aurora movie theater attack:
A little more than a month before James E. Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in 2012, a psychiatrist was considering having him involuntarily committed. Mr. Holmes quit his job, filed for unemployment benefits and used a new Mastercard issued by USAA to help buy more than $11,000 in weapons and military gear. He bought two tear-gas grenades, a gas mask and filter, a .40-caliber Glock handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .223-caliber AR-15, a 100-round drum magazine, two 40-round magazines, a laser sight, a bulletproof vest, 5,000 rounds of ammunition, two sets of handcuffs and “road stars” meant to slice through car tires.
They jump to the Las Vegas attacker, “who spent nearly $95,000 on firearms and gun-related purchases in the year before the massacre, buying some 55 guns, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s report.”
In between various examples of mass shooters, they point out systems credit card companies have in place — or could put in place — to detect firearm purchases and either refuse them altogether or flag them to see how much is being spent on guns.
Then the Times inadvertently reveals the slippery slope aspect of asking financial giants to refuse or monitor funding being spent on constitutionally protected products. They do this by pointing out that Jared Loughner — Gabby Giffords’ attacker — bought the handgun he used via a Chase credit card.
Loughner bought one gun — a Glock 9mm — so he spent a few hundred dollars for a gun on a credit card. Yet he is presented on par with the Orlando Pulse attacker, the Aurora movie theater attacker, and the Las Vegas attacker, all of whom spent thousands if not tens of thousands.
It is also troublesome that the NYT is using the Las Vegas attacker as a basis for their argument although they admit they have no idea how many of his guns were even purchased with a credit card. The NYT acknowledges that some of his gun purchases “were in cash.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.