Americans have had enough. After the most recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Americans on both sides of the aisle are increasingly voicing their views against the government’s unwillingness to correct our gun violence problems. Members of both major U.S parties have made certain their opinions on gun control will be heard.
In the wake of the vast demonstrations and protests in the aftermath of the latest massacre that left 17 American students dead, President Trump issued an announcement on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, saying that he has directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop regulations against “bump stocks” and other attachments that would increase the fire-rate or lethality of the firearm. Bump stocks became a household topic after the accessory was used in the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 Americans dead.
While the bump stock announcement is a welcoming change of policy from the U.S. government, it effectively comes four months after the Las Vegas Shooting and there was no indication that the accessory was used in the recent Florida shooting. The question still remains, can Americans really trust our government to make meaningful changes to combat gun violence? History has shown us that politicians will most likely make no major changes to gun laws, as most are being successfully lobbied by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
If our dysfunctional government continues on the path of inaction, can Americans count on private enterprise to make a difference?
Executives in the finance industry have begun to discuss what they can do to help remedy the gun violence issue plaguing America. Businesses such as banks, credit card companies and payment services arguably have more control over who can buy guns than anyone.
Apple, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) Apple Pay, PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL), Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), and Stripe are a few companies who have already refused to let their services be utilized to purchase firearms. However, It will take more than just these services to prevent the purchase of firearms. A response from larger credit card issuers such as Visa, Inc. (NYSE: V) and Mastercard, Inc. (NYSE: MA) will be necessary to truly cause change.
It wouldn’t be the first time a financial giant used their influence to prevent specific purchases. Just this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), and Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) banned the use of their credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency.
Although it’s possible for card issuers to ban the purchase of firearms, it seems unlikely. Currently, Visa is the official card choice of the NRA. They even offer a specially branded NRA Visa card. On the other hand, Visa published a paper in 2016 highlighting their “corporate responsibility.”
There is still a chance that the White House will take action additional action. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.” Unfortunately, federal backgrounds checks would have done nothing to stop the Parkland shooter Nicholas Cruz, who had no criminal record, and purchased the seven weapons used in the assault legally.
Overall, gun violence is an issue that continues to plague the United States more than any other developed nation in the world. Our government continues to stand by with no real plans, as Americans watch year-after-year of devastating shootings. Private enterprise may be one of our last chances for real change in America.
Content Contributed By: Frank Marino-Moore