WACO, Texas (KWTX) Democratic Presidential Hopeful Beto O'Rourke on Thursday called on banks and credit card companies to eliminate services for all transactions involving gun sales.
"Credit cards have enabled many of America's mass shootings in the last decade," O'Rourke claimed in an email sent to supporters, "We're calling on the financial industry to do its part to cut off the sales of these weapons of war."
The former Texas congressman said the man responsible for the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado "bought $11,000 in assault rifles, gas masks, grenades, and ammunition" with his credit card.
"Credit card companies and banks profit off of those who terrorize our communities," O'Rourke said in the email, "And we know that in this moment, no one can sit on the sidelines. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part."
O'Rourke's proposal comes in the wake of two recent mass shootings in West Texas. On August 31, 2019, a gunman killed seven people and wounded 22 others in the Midland-Odessa area. A few weeks before that, on August 3, a gunman killed 22 people and wounded 24 others at an El Paso Walmart.
O'Rourke represented El Paso in Congress for six years before deciding not to seek re-election in a failed bid to oust Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
The former congressman, now languishing in the polls in the Democratic primaries, is calling on banks and credit card companies to:
- Refuse to provide services for the sales of assault weapons.
- Stop processing transactions for gun sales online or at gun shows without background checks.
- Stop doing business with gun or ammunition manufacturers who produce or sell assault weapons.
"The least the financial industry could do is stop profiting off sales of these weapons," O'Rourke said, "The financial industry has played a part in government efforts to stop the illegal drug trade, trafficking, and other violent crimes. It's time for them to step up now and stop the easy flow of assault weapons to terrorists."
Also Thursday, the CEOs of 145 companies sent a letter to U.S. senators, urging them to take action on gun background checks and "red flag" legislation.
"As leaders of some of America's most respected companies and those with significant business interests in the United States, we are writing to you because we have a responsibility and obligation to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers and all Americans in the communities we serve across the country," the business leaders wrote, "Doing nothing about America's gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety."