Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor has called 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,” District Attorney George 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.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore and San Gabriel Police Chief Gene Harris, who is the president of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, also joined Gascón in the request.
Last October, the LAPD reported to the police commission on the “epidemic” of ghost guns, which department officials say have increased “exponentially over the last year.” The LAPD report illustrated that 3D printing “allows the components to be more accessible” and are “replacing firearms people would normally purchase, with no background checks required.”
In letters sent to the chief executive officers of the three credit card companies, Gascón and the two police chiefs noted that they were writing “in hopes of appealing to your company’s proven history of responsible corporate citizenship.”