Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), and Senator Edward Markey (MA) introduced the Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act. The legislation would require the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) within the Treasury Department to provide guidance to financial institutions that could help them report suspicious activity related to mass shootings and domestic terrorism.
Under existing regulation financial institutions are required to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), to raise red flags about money laundering, human trafficking, terrorist financing and other criminal activity. This bill would require FinCEN to collect and analyze data from financial institutions to determine what indicators, if any, might precede a mass shooting or terrorist attack. FinCen would then be required to issue an advisory on how financial institutions should use these indicators to comply with their SAR filings. The bill seeks to determine dangerous financial patterns that may be detectable.
“We need to use every tool at our disposal to help prevent tragic loss of life from gun violence,” Congresswoman Madeleine Dean said. “This bill puts our existing infrastructure for detecting financial crimes to work and seeks to determine if there are patterns of financial behavior that precede mass shootings and terrorist incidents – learning these data points will help us identify and stop gun violence in the future.”
"Financial institutions already have proven systems in place to identify suspicious behavior and purchasing patterns that enable them to crack down on activities like money laundering, human smuggling, and fentanyl trafficking," Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton said. "Banks, retailers, and credit card companies can put these tools to use to detect and prevent mass shootings – if they know what to look for. I'm proud to join Rep. Dean and Senator Markey in introducing this legislation to equip financial institutions with the guidance they need to help us save lives."
“We cannot allow banks and financial institutions to turn a blind eye as shooters bank a pile of guns and ammunition in lead up to an attack,” Senator Markey said. “The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act will give us the guidance on how these institutions can help pinpoint and prevent gun violence across the country. I am proud to work with Representatives Dean and Wexton in advancing this gun violence prevention legislation.”
This bill is supported by gun violence prevention groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, March For Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance, Guns Down America, and Moms Demand Action.
John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety: “Banks and financial institutions have a key role to play when it comes to identifying the warning signs of gun violence, such as trafficking or stockpiling weapons — but they can’t do this work if they don’t have the right data. We applaud Representatives Dean and Wexton, as well as Senator Markey, for introducing legislation to make sure that FinCEN is equipping banks with the tools and data they need to report suspicious activity, which will help prevent gun violence before it happens.”
"We are a generation that has indelible trauma from the threat of firearm violence, yet we are frequently unable to rely on accurate data to determine how to prevent acts of domestic terrorism on a daily basis," Max Markham, Policy & Legal Director at March For Our Lives said. "While we have high expectations of our government to address gun violence as a public health crisis, we believe financial institutions can make a unique contribution, utilizing their own financial intelligence, to prevent these atrocities from occurring so frequently. We thank Representatives Dean and Wexton, and Senator Markey for leading the way with this innovative bill, and look forward to continued collaboration to help save lives."
"When it comes to preventing gun violence and saving lives, we need to be using every tool at our disposal, including helping financial institutions to spot potential red flags and take action before it's too late," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action said. "We are proud to support this effort by Senator Markey and Representatives Dean and Wexton to help guide financial institutions through the ways that the U.S. firearms market is criminally exploited to facilitate gun violence in America."
“Newtown Action Alliance is proud to support Representative Dean and Senator Markey’s Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act. We know firsthand that a mass shooting incident can devastate an entire community. More can be done to prevent mass shootings and other gun tragedies in all our communities across the nation. Congress should immediately pass this bill so that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network could establish guidelines for the financial institutions to identify and report suspicious firearm transactions by mass shooters and domestic terrorists in the United States," Po Murray, Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance said.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.