Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón called Tuesday on three credit card companies to stop online payments for the purchase of kits to make untraceable “ghost guns.”
“American Express, Mastercard and Visa have the ability to go beyond what any law enforcement agency, legislature or city council can accomplish,” Gascón said in a written statement. “We are asking these companies to join us in stemming 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.”
So-called ghost guns are typically assembled from purchased or homemade components and lack serial numbers by which they can be identified. The District Attorney’s Office contends that no valid background checks are done, often merely requiring the buyer to self-certify — enabling someone who is legally disqualified because of a felony or domestic violence conviction, mental illness or being underage to easily buy a ghost gun kit by making a false and untested certification.
Gascón sent letters to the chief executive officers of the three credit card companies to appeal to their companies’ “proven history of responsible corporate citizenship.”
The letters note that the companies decided in 2015 to cease to allow their networks to be used to process payments from a website that “had become notorious for facilitating sex trafficking, especially of underage minors,” and urged the companies to “make a similar responsible decision with regards to ‘ghost guns.”‘
Ghost guns were used during a 2013 shooting at Santa Monica College in which six people, including the shooter, died; and a shooting at Saugus High School in 2019, in which three students, including the shooter, were killed and three others were injured, along with the shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies sitting inside a squad car in September 2020, the letters note.