Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Tuesday that he is calling upon three major credit card companies to once again show responsible corporate citizenship by stopping online payments for the purchase of ghost gun kits.
“American Express, Mastercard and Visa have the ability to go beyond what any law enforcement agency, legislature or city council can accomplish,” Gascón said. “We are asking these companies to join us in voting the flow of ghost guns into our communities by preventing a ghost gun kit from being sold with a few mere clicks on a smartphone or computer.”
Gascón was joined by Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and San Gabriel Police Chief Gene Harris, who is president of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, in urging the credit card companies to halt the online transactions involving ghost guns.
Ghost guns are firearms kits sold mostly on the internet for approximately $350 to $500. The set of tools that arrives by mail can be assembled into a working firearm. They are called ghost guns because they are unregistered and lack a serial number, making them untraceable by law enforcement, according to officials.
The weapons are purchased with no valid background checks, often merely requiring the buyer to self-certify. This means that someone who is legally disqualified by virtue of a felony, domestic violence conviction, mental illness or being underage can easily purchase a ghost gun kit by making a false and untested certification.
“It is well documented and beyond dispute that the proliferation of ghost guns has had a debilitating effect on our country, our state and our county,” read Tuesday’s statement. “By prohibiting online payments for ghost guns, the credit card agencies can take meaningful steps to improve public safety.”
The 2019 Saugus High School shooting, which left two students and the shooter dead and injured three others, was found to have been committed with a ghost gun in the hands of the 16-year-old shooter.
See Related: Family Of Saugus Shooting Victim Speaks On Federal Ghost Gun Investigation
As a test of how easy it was for someone to acquire one of these weapons, the father of one of the victims bought a ghost gun using his daughter’s name and his own credit card to order a ghost gun kit. It was delivered without a single hitch, even though the alleged buyer was not only underage, but also deceased.
Gascón pointed out that is more than possible for predict car companies to take a stand, and they have done so in the past.
In 2015, the credit card companies banded together to cease allowing their networks to be used for processing payments on backpage.com, which was accused of facilitating sex trafficking.
Since 2017, the number of ghost guns seized by the Los Angeles Police Department has increased by approximately 400 percent and the trend is accelerating. During 2020, LAPD recovered 813 ghost guns.
See Related: Man Found With Meth, ‘Ghost Gun’ Arrested In Valencia
During the first 11 months of 2021† the amount recovered more than doubled to 1,780. Last August, LAPD reported that ghost guns accounted for 33 percent of all guns it recovered in suspected criminal activity.
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