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Mass shooters used credit cards to buy guns: report

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Credit cards have been at the center of some of America’s deadliest mass shootings, a new investigation from The New York Times reveals.

According to The Times, over the past decade there have been 13 shootings killing 10 or more people, and of those, at least eight were financed using credit cards.

Attackers reportedly spent thousands of dollars on guns and ammunition using credit cards that were taken out in the months leading up to the attacks. These charges were not flagged by credit card-companies despite obvious red flags, law enforcement officials say.

And many of these perpetrators likely would not have been able to afford these firearms without credit cards, The Times reported.

“Banks will complain this is the government’s job and it’s not our job, but you know what? They are the only ones with the ability to do this,” Kevin Sullivan, a former New York Police fraud investigator who is president of the Anti-Money Laundering Training Academy, told The Times.

Read more: How likely is gun violence to kill the average American? The odds may surprise you

Credit-card companies have refused to monitor customer transactions. A spokesperson for Visa told The Times that putting a restriction on the purchase of legal goods “sets a dangerous precedent.”

The Times uses Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016, and James E. Holmes, who killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012, as examples.

Both shooters reportedly spent thousands of dollars buying guns and lethal weapons on credit cards in the run-up to the attacks.

Holmes used a new Mastercard to buy more than $11,000 in weapons and military gear including various guns, grenades, a gas mask, a bulletproof vest, and 5,000 rounds of ammunition, The Times reported.

“This was a civilian making these orders, not the police and not the military,” Sandy Phillips, a mother of a girl who died in the attack said. “Someone should have noticed.”

Read The New York Times’ full investigation here. »

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