Mastercard Shareholders to Vote on Treasurer Magaziner’s Proposal to Restrict Purchases, Sales of Untraceable Ghost Guns

Published on Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Shareholder proposal is in response to increased use of ghost guns during violent crime 
 

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today filed a letter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging Mastercard (NYSE: MA) shareholders to vote for his shareholder proposal, which calls on the company’s Board of Directors to address the risks of processing payments for the sale and purchase of untraceable firearms known as "ghost guns." Shareholders will consider and vote on the proposal at Mastercard’s annual meeting on June 21, 2022.  

Ghost guns are increasingly becoming the firearm of choice for individuals engaging in violent crime because they are not required to have a serial number, making it difficult for law enforcement to determine where by whom, and when they were manufactured, as well as to whom they were sold or otherwise distributed. Sellers of 'ghost gun' kits often advertise that their products are meant to be built into operable firearms with no serial number, records, or background check. 

Mastercard continues to process transactions by known sellers of ghost guns, despite taking action to forbid the sale of other dangerous products and services on its platform.

"Ghost guns allow violent criminals to evade law enforcement and pose a direct risk to communities across our country," said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "The ability for criminals to obtain untraceable firearms over the internet contributes to the tragedy of gun violence in Rhode Island and Mastercard’s association with the sale of ghost gun kits seriously damages the company’s reputation. The company has a chance to do the responsible thing and stop facilitating ghost gun sales on its platforms."

From January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2020, approximately 23,906 suspected ghost guns were reported to the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives as having been recovered by law enforcement from crime scenes, including 325 homicides or attempted homicides, a number which tragically includes students who were killed during mass school shootings. 

Multiple ghost guns have been used in violent crimes in Rhode Island, including a gang-related shooting that wounded nine people in Providence in May 2021 and was the largest mass shooting in Rhode Island in decades. 

Treasurer Magaziner has long been an advocate for common-sense gun safety legislation, testifying in favor of gun safety legislation every year he has been in office. Under Treasurer Magaziner’s leadership, Rhode Island was the fourth state in the country to divest its pension fund from companies that manufacture assault-style weapons for civilian use in January 2020. 

Treasurer Magaziner’s shareholder proposal with Mastercard was co-filed by Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden, Mercy Investment Services, Congrégation des Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of The Episcopal Church and Northwest Women Religious Investment Trust.