Could gun violence be curbed by banks?


In a New York Times Dealbook article in the Business & Policy section by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Sorkin suggested that banks such as JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America should ban the purchase of certain firearms using their credit cards companies in order to curtail gun violence in America.

Sorkin effectively discussed the position that many CEOs and high level executives of banks feel that they should take towards moral and social issues. He claims that they feel a “sense of moral responsibility … to confront social challenges when Washington won’t.”

Truthfully, following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day, the sales of assault weapons has not yet been limited by lawmakers in Washington, but according to Sorkin there is a “real opportunity for the business community to fill the void and prove that all the talk about moral responsibility isn’t hollow”.

An AR-15: the automatic assault weapon responsible for the most amount of deadly shootings in America

Sorkin suggests that these credit card processing banks should add restrictions in their Terms of Service in which they start by restricting the purchase of assault rifles and bump stocks, the mechanism that makes rifles fire faster.

There is even a precedent for banning the usage of credit cards for certain purchases, so the banks would not be doing something extremely outlandish. In the past month, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America have set restrictions to ban the usage of their credit cards to purchase Bitcoin – a completely legal worldwide payment system.

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase said that he and his bank “have a moral obligation but also a deeply vested interest [in helping] solve pressing societal issues,” according to Sorkin.

Sorkin’s quoting of high level executives reveals their deeper interest behind solving issues like gun violence, which Sorkin believes could be easily curtailed by simply restricting what could be purchased on bank-issued credit cards.

Most people will not pay for an assault weapon in cash or they will have a harder time figuring out how to pay for it or why they should pay for it when their bank condemns it.

Sorkin includes an important detail in his editorial to show a problem in restricting gun control in this country. He writes that, after 72 hours of phone calls to high level people, nobody wanted to discuss his idea on the record or even at all.

Nobody wants to talk about a world where the purchase of assault weapons would be untraceable – only in cash. But, an America where assault rifles could not be purchased using credit cards would make purchasing them more difficult and would raise national recognition of the level of danger of these guns. According to Sorkin, it would be a great start for a country that has had more than 18 school shootings in just one month.