Unlike some other payment processors who have allowed themselves to become politicized, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly has promised not to block purchases of firearms made through the company.
Asked if Visa would continue to facilitate firearms purchases, Kelly told CNBC, “We are guided by the federal laws in a country, and our job is to create and to facilitate fair and secure commerce.”
Adding that Visa would continue to “follow the laws of the land,” Kelly emphasized that private companies should not be dictating what people can or cannot buy, so long as it’s legal.
“The reality is that it’s very hard for us to do it. … If we start to get in the mode of being legislators it’s a very slippery slope,” Kelly said. “We shouldn’t be determining what’s right or wrong in terms of people’s purchases.”
Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard, also said that it wasn’t the company’s place to decide what consumers can purchase.
Other payment companies like PayPal and Square have barred the purchase of guns via their platforms.
Kelly’s promise is crucial given that “deplatforming” has now moved on to banks and payment processors, with conservative commentators and activists having their accounts shut down in some cases for having the wrong opinions.
The pledges come as firearms sales have surged with Americans looking to protect themselves and their families in the wake of recent “mass shootings” and the calls for firearm bans.
The Washington Examiner reports that gun shops are seeing an uptick in business, particularly from first-time buyers.
“While we have seen a measured rise in sale of certain tactical rifles and accessories this week, most customers are looking for concealed carry handguns,” said Justin Anderson, Marketing Director of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, N.C.
“Just this week we have fielded hundreds of calls from people that have never purchased a gun before. Our concealed carry training classes are filling up quickly.” Anderson added.
“People are realizing that even a trip to Walmart isn’t safe these days and they want to be able to protect themselves.”
“Remember that nothing stops a lunatic bent on carnage better than a law-abiding citizen with a gun. I continue to urge people to get a gun, get trained with that gun, and carry, always,” he added.
FBI Figures show another jump in purchases and background checks, with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System showing that 2019 is likely to be the second biggest year since 2016, when sales soared in anticipation of Hillary Clinton winning the election.