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Everytown Renews Calls for Credit Card Companies to Stop Processing Ghost Gun Sales

May 13, 2022

On Wednesday, Everytown and New York City Mayor Eric Adams Called on ATF to Shut Down Polymer80, the Nation’s Largest Source of Ghost Guns Used in Crimes

This Week, Prosecutors Against Gun Violence Sent a Letter to Visa and Mastercard, Urging Them to Take Action Against Ghost Guns

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s largest gun violence prevention organization, today renewed its calls for credit card companies to stop processing illegal online ghost gun kit sales. Earlier this week, Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, a non-partisan coalition of prosecutors serving over 60 million Americans in 24 states across the country, sent a letter to Visa and Mastercard, calling on them to do so as well. The calls come after Everytown and New York City this week called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to revoke the federal firearms license of Polymer80, the nation’s largest manufacturer of kits used to build homemade ghost guns, for repeated willful violations of federal gun laws. 

“Credit cards make it easy for criminals to buy ghost guns – which makes life even harder for prosecutors working to get these deadly weapons off the street,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re grateful to these prosecutors for calling on credit card companies to do their part to combat ghost guns, which are a dream come true for criminals and a nightmare for law enforcement.”

“We need credit card companies to stand with us in our fight against these untraceable ghost guns and those who flood our streets with them, putting profits over public safety,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “By refusing to facilitate illegal ghost gun kit sales, credit card companies can save lives and show people in the U.S. that they are willing to put their money where their values are.”

“Stopping the spread of ghost guns must be an all-hands-on-deck effort, and prosecutors know better than most how much of a danger these illegal guns pose,” said Nick Suplina, senior vice president of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re proud to join with these law enforcement leaders in calling on credit card companies to do their part in combating this growing threat to public safety.”

In April, President Joe Biden announced that ATF finalized a new ghost guns rule, which confirms that gun-building kits and their core components are subject to the same firearms regulations as fully functional firearms – including the requirements of serialization and background checks when sold by a federal firearms licensee.  In February, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón called on American Express, Visa, and Mastercard to stop facilitating online sales of ghost guns. Last year, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts wrote an op-ed in Business Insider, arguing that “credit card companies have an opportunity — and a responsibility — to be part of the solution by refusing to process these dangerous and illegal sales” of ghost guns. 

ATF estimates that approximately 45,000 ghost guns have been recovered at crime scenes since 2016, with more than 19,000 ghost guns being recovered in 2021 alone. Local law enforcement agencies are also seeing staggering increases in rates of recovery — rising as much as 100 percent in the last three years in places like San Diego and Los Angeles. For example, the number of untraceable ghost guns recovered by the LAPD saw a leap from 813 recoveries in 2020 to 1,921 recoveries in 2021. Other communities have seen significant ghost gun recoveries, with sharp increases in the past year. In Philadelphia, the police reported recovering 571 ghost guns, compared to 95 in 2019 and 250 in 2020. Public information ties ghost guns to scores of shootings across the country.  Ghost guns have also been weapons of choice for militant right-wing extremists and people who otherwise would not be able to pass a background check. In recent months, the country has also seen an increase of gun fire on school grounds with ghost guns and recoveries of ghost guns on campuses. Schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Maryland, and Kansas have been devastated with these instances of gun fire on school grounds – highlighting a scary trend and another important reason to regulate these guns.

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