Visa’s chief executive stated that the payment company will continue facilitating firearms purchases as long as it remains legal to do so.
“We are guided by the federal laws in a country, and our job is to create and to facilitate fair and secure commerce,” Visa Chairman and CEO Alfred Kelly said, according to CNBC.
Kelly’s comments come in the wake of two deadly mass shootings that occurred within 13 hours of each other. On August 3, 22 people were killed when a 21-year-old man opened fire with an AK-47 inside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Less than a day later, in Dayton, Ohio, a 24-year-old man shot and killed nine people outside a popular bar; police officers patrolling the area shot and killed the gunman less than a minute after the attack began.
The massacres led to further calls for increased gun regulation including comprehensive background checks.
Kelly’s confirmation that Visa will not cease servicing gun sales stands in contrast to other popular payment methods like PayPal and Square, neither of which hosts firearms transactions.
He stated that it is up to lawmakers, not private companies, to change the rules surrounding gun purchases.
“The reality is that it’s very hard for us to do it,” Kelly explained. “If we start to get in the mode of being legislators it’s a very slippery slope. We shouldn’t be determining what’s right or wrong in terms of people’s purchases.”
Stating that Visa will “follow the laws of the land,” he went on to compare guns with “soda” and “reproductive drugs.”
But Kelly had harsh words for lawmakers who, in his view, aren’t doing enough to address the increasingly pressing issue of gun violence in the United States.
“They ought to get busy on some common sense changes to deal with the horrific problems that we’ve seen in the United States, not just this weekend but for years and years,” he said. “It’s time to start looking at mental health, the size of these magazines, the type of weapons. They’ve got to do something.”
Mastercard has taken a similar line on this, also confirming recently that it is not the company’s job to dictate what people can and cannot buy.