As Americans frequently utilize credit to purchase a wide array of things for everyday living, it should come as no surprise that one anti-Second Amendment congressman has decided that firearms purchases using one form of credit should be illegal. Specifically, it should be illegal for semi-automatic rifles that might fall under the political definition of “assault weapons.”
Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.) is attempting to do just this with H.R. 4289, the “Assault Weapons Financing Accountability Act.”
According to the bill’s text, an importer, manufacturer, or retailer selling a firearm under a “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) financing agreement would be subject to a $100,000 civil fine. Likewise, the purchaser of a firearm bought using BNPL would be subject to the $100,000 civil fine.
In a press release touting this proposed legislation, Larson says, “Banning use of instant financing like BNPL options for assault weapons and the ghost gun kits [to make such rifles] is a step toward reducing the instant accessibility of these weapons and preventing the tragedies of gun violence before they occur.”
The elitism of it all is rather staggering, as Larson is effectively telling Americans they can’t use credit to purchase lawfully made and lawfully sold products. This legislation is certainly in line with other recent attempts by gun-control proponents to attack the right of citizens’ to purchase firearms some people simply do not like by impeding their access to the financial marketplace.
The anti-Second Amendment founder of Mom’s Demand Action, Shannon Watts, for example, is on record proposing that credit-card companies should be able to block their cards from being used to purchase firearm parts.
Closely related to this idea is the announcement by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that it would create a new Merchant Category Code (MCC) specific to firearm and ammunition retailers—and, in the process, likely create a gun registry.
The ISO announcement followed a petition by Amalgamated Bank to create such a code just for gun stores. That petition was supported by some of the top anti-Second Amendment politicians, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and New York Mayor Eric Adams (D), as well as the anti-gun groups Giffords and Guns Down America.
BNPL financing for firearms is offered by the company Credova. A prospective buyer applies for the BNPL financing as part of their firearm purchase. If the BNPL request is approved, the sale goes through.
Larson falsely stated in the press release that the BNPL financing provides “instant access” to firearms. Even if the BNPL purchase is approved, the buyer of the firearm still must successfully pass the required federal firearms background check, as well as any state-applicable checks and requirements, before a firearm can be transferred.
Like so many of the attempts to strangle Second Amendment rights, Larson and his allies claim that the “Assault Weapons Financing Accountability Act” is needed to reduce “mass shootings,” which they insist are being financed by BNPL even though they haven’t produced any data to support this claim.
Given the current political make-up of the U.S. House of Representatives, this bill is unlikely to gain traction. If both chambers of Congress were in line with the Biden administration’s view of our rights, however, then this could certainly become law.