- - Thursday, September 15, 2022

The people in woke corporate America are so stupid. What criminal is going to purchase a firearm with a credit card (at least, with one of their own)? As usual, they are obsessed with ideas that make them feel like they are doing something to solve a problem when they are not. The cynical ones are worse. They are looking for control over their political opponents. 

Anti-gun groups and politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Mayor Eric Adams have been pushing methods of creating a registry of gun owners as a way to attack the legal gun industry when a firearm is used in a crime.  In June, Amalgamated Bank petitioned the International Organization for Standardization to create a new Merchant Category Code specific to firearm and ammunition retailers. These codes are used by payment processing networks—like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express—to categorize various transactions. An identical petition was denied last year, but it was announced last week that a new code would be created specifically to firearms purchases. 

The federal government is prohibited from centralizing most firearm records into a registry. The creation of the new code used by credit card companies would provide a way for someone else to assemble a registry that can be shared with the government. 

Doubt this could happen? Look at the way the federal government is partnering with social media platforms to limit access to certain types of information and block certain voices. Consider what the government tried to do in Canada by going after the bank accounts of people supporting the Freedom Caravans. Don’t underestimate the overreaching power of the federal government under the control of socialists. 

Anti-gun groups claim they expect the banks and credit card companies to draw attention to suspicious transactions, but there are no standards for what defines suspicious activity. If anything, this opens the door to the harassment of law-abiding citizens. 

The vast majority of crime that is gun-related is committed by people who illegally are possessing that firearm. The anti-gun groups’ argument is similar to their claims that Wisconsin would become the Wild West when I signed into law concealed carry legislation. The only thing that was “wild” was the reaction from those living in a woke world. 

As we predicted, the new state statute empowered law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm and they did so, overwhelmingly, without any issues. Criminals, as we noted, continue to possess guns illegally. Common sense shows that someone who is going to break the law is not going to get a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon. With few exceptions, the same is true for a person using a credit card to purchase weapons to commit a crime. It’s just not going to happen. 

Policymakers should focus on initiatives that restore public safety, as opposed to generating media obsession. According to the National Institute of Justice, nearly 500,00 violent crimes are committed each year with a gun. On average, nearly 40,000 die each year from a gun-related death.

Here is a real-life example. Six people were killed in Chicago. They were among the 30 people wounded in shootings last weekend. The homicide rate in Chicago last year was nearly three times higher than the rate in Los Angeles and five times higher than the rate in New York City. There is a violent crime crisis in Illinois’ largest city despite the state having some of the most aggressive anti-gun laws in the nation. That’s because soft-on-crime liberals are trying to distract their constituents from their failures in public safety. 

The majority of firearms used in criminal activities are obtained illegally. A survey by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2019 found that some 43% of criminals had bought their firearms on the black market, 6% acquired them via theft, and 10% made a retail purchase – 0.8% purchased a weapon from a gun show.

In 11% of cases, the criminal made a straw purchase—meaning someone else bought a gun for them—while an additional 15% got guns from a friend or relative. Some 12% of weapons found at a crime scene had been brought there by someone else.

Instead of creating a national registry via credit card companies, policymakers should focus on things that actually reduce crime. That means pushing back against failed radical policies like defunding the police, ending cash bail, and early release. Instead, we should defend the police and give law enforcement the resources they need to restore public safety, remove bail options for those who are a public safety threat, and keep criminals imprisoned through the end of their sentence.

Instead of creating new ways to harass law-abiding citizens, officials should crack down on the criminals who are getting their guns illegally on the streets. Leave the rest of us alone. 

• Scott Walker is the president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.

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