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April 4, 2024

House Approves Bill to Identify Suspicious Purchases to Reduce Gun Violence

Legislation would make it easier to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing patterns, helping to prevent gun violence

DENVER, CO - The House today advanced gun violence prevention legislation sponsored by Representatives Meg Froelich and Javier Mabrey to help law enforcement recognize dangerous firearm purchasing patterns.

“Prior to the tragic Aurora movie theater shooting, the shooter had purchased over $11,000 worth of firearms, ammunition, and military gear in the weeks leading up to the shooting, ultimately killing 12 innocent Coloradans,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “Credit card merchant codes are an effective tool already used by law enforcement to combat human trafficking and money laundering crimes, and our bill would expand this tool to help us stop gun violence before it impacts our communities. Our legislation is crucial in giving law enforcement a head start in preventing gun violence so we can save Colorado lives."

“Credit cards have been used to finance many of the major mass shootings in recent years, and identifying suspicious weapon and ammunition stockpiling before a tragedy can take place will save lives," said Rep. Javier Mabrey, D-Denver. "Firearms are uniquely exempted from having a merchant code. Almost every other product has one of these codes and this bill removes that exemption. This information could be provided to law enforcement, and it could have a life-saving impact in our communities.”

SB24-066 would require payment card networks like Visa or Mastercard to provide a specific code, known as a merchant code, for businesses that primarily sell firearms and ammunition. Merchant codes would allow banks and credit card companies to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing patterns – like a domestic extremist building up an arsenal – and report them to law enforcement.

A report found this legislation could have prevented many mass shootings, including the Aurora movie theater shooting and the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The Aurora movie theater shooter used a MasterCard to buy $11,000 worth of weapons and military gear at multiple stores in the six weeks before the shooting.


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