In February, George Gascón, the Los Angeles County District Attorney, asked Visa, Mastercard and American Express to stop processing online ghost gun purchases. “By your action, you can prevent the sale of a phantom weapon on the Internet with just a few clicks on a smartphone or computer,” the letters read. “It is your company’s sense of right and wrong that we are now appealing to.” Discussions with card networks are ongoing, he said, although there have been no changes to network policies on this issue so far.
Gascón said he hoped that would eventually change. “A good corporate citizen can put a stop to bad businesses that would otherwise thrive because the law will always be inadequate to fully address the problem,” he said.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley, co-chairs of the prosecutors’ gun violence advocacy group, wrote a similar letter to Mastercard and Visa last month on behalf of more than 50 district attorneys everywhere. countries that make up the organization.
Clark and Dudley say Visa has not responded, and last week Mastercard officials said in a call with district attorneys that the company would not stop payments unless there was has clear evidence of illegal activity.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Visa said it “requires every transaction processed on our network to be legal in the jurisdictions of both the buyer and the seller. We do not condone the use of our network and our products for illegal activity, and we are vigilant in our efforts to deter illegal activity on our network.
A Mastercard spokesperson said, “We believe it is the responsibility of elected officials to enact meaningful policies to address the issue of gun violence, while Mastercard’s role is to ensure that consumers are authorized to make legal purchases on our network. He added that he is working to ensure that his products are not used to purchase these weapons in jurisdictions where they are not legal.
“American Express is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations relating to the sale of firearms on our network and requires that all merchants who accept American Express cards adhere to them,” the credit card company said. in a statement to BuzzFeed News.