Banks have been working on technology to “identify potential mass shooters” by tracking gun-related purchases and filing “Suspicious Activity Reports” with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
According to comments made by Amalgamated Bank Chief Executive Officer Priscilla Sims Brown at the New York Times DealBook conference on Wednesday, the strategy would employ credit card companies to more closely track gun purchases, Bloomberg reports.
“We’re at the very early stages of this — this particular code just got approved in October, so those detection scenarios are still being brought together,” said Brown, adding “But as this is implemented, those scenarios will be used.”
The strategy would mirror ways banks try to identify and stop fraudsters from using customers’ funds.
The International Organization for Standardization approved a new merchant category code earlier this year that banks will use when processing transactions for gun and ammunition stores after Amalgamated submitted an application on the matter. Gun-control advocates were quick to celebrate the move, arguing it would help banks flag suspicious activity at these retailers. -Bloomberg
Banks have come under pressure from Congressional Republicans over what they plan to do with the tracking codes, with conservative policymakers expressing concern that lenders will use the data to create unofficial lists of gun owners in the US.
“What I’m hearing from other banks is that they have been honoring this process and this system, filing Suspicious Activity Reports across a myriad of industries to stop a myriad of crimes — or at least alert authorizes of them,” said Brown. “And I have every confidence that banks are going to do the same thing here.”