A new gun control bill called the “Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act” attempts to identify “mass shooters” by monitoring gun purchases. You might actually call it the ‘Flushing Privacy Down The Toilet Act.’
A new gun control bill
The bill was introduced in the House by Rep Jennifer Wexton,(D-VA) on November 13, 2019. It requires the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to request information from financial institutions “for the purpose of developing an advisory about the identification and reporting of suspicious activity.”
“Banks, credit card companies, and retailers have unique insight into the behavior and purchasing patterns that can help identify and prevent mass shootings. We know that financial intelligence can be an effective tool to combat gun violence in the same way it is for money laundering, human smuggling, and fentanyl trafficking. Financial institutions have a legal obligation under the Bank Secrecy Act to have programs in place to help detect and report suspicious financial activity, but they have to know what they are looking for, and FinCEN can be a valuable partner. The red flags are there–someone just needs to be paying attention.” Jennifer Wexton
The bill is akin to spying on your gun purchases. And is it even possible to know a threat based on a credit card purchase? No. And banks casting that “wide of a net” can become an egregious violation of personal rights. What if a bank were to decide that purchasing say two guns at once was “suspicious?” Maybe you should never buy gifts for your relatives. Maybe buying yourself that nice new 1911 Desert Eagle and a rifle for your nephew would be flagged.
It is impossible to gauge intent from a transaction record. Democrats are deaf.
Almost half of gun owners report owning at least four guns, which makes it relatively easy to see how any gun owner could come under suspicion should the government deputize financial institutions to monitor “suspicious” gun transaction patterns. There is no way to determine whether or not someone is spending a lot of money on guns to commit a crime or just because they like them since the transactions are identical on paper. Spending a lot at a gun store might be less unusual than Wexton seems to think.
Setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods and service is a slippery slope.
“Asking Visa or other payment networks to arbitrate what legal goods can be purchased sets a dangerous precedent.” Amanda Pire, Visa spokeswoman
And what about school shooters who are students? Most of them don’t use credit cards to purchase their weapons. Some are stolen from parents. Do we then target parents who purchase guns because all of a sudden their kids could be mass shooters? All in all, this idea will either fail miserably or make it untenable for law-abiding gun owners. Hopefully it will die an ugly death in the Senate.
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