Dec 24, 2018

Majority of mass shooters finance their weapon stockpiles with credit

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Out of the 13 mass shootings that have killed 10 or more people over the past decade, eight of the perpetrators used credit cards to stockpile firearms they otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford, the New York Times' Andrew Sorkin reports.

The big picture: The Times' investigation found that those eight shooters, who killed a combined 217 people, left behind "a rich trove of information" online — red flags that might have been acted upon had there been a system of more rigorous financial scrutiny in place. "They can fine-tune their own systems," one anti-money laundering expert told the Times, "Because in these cases the suspicious purchasing patterns could have been picked up on and quite frankly should have been picked up on.”

  • Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, used six credit cards to buy $1,837.29 worth of weapons.
  • James Holmes, who killed 12 people at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, used credit to buy $11,000 worth of weapons and military gear.
  • Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people and injured more than 800 at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, spent nearly $95,000 on firearms the year before — at least some of which was spent online.

Virtually none of the bank and credit card executives the Times' spoke to were willing to go on the record "for fear of upsetting gun-rights advocates and politicians invoking the Second Amendment."

  • Some invoked a slippery-slope argument, and said that if they were to start policing gun sales, they might have to do the same for people who bought large quantities of alcohol in order to prevent drunk driving.

Go deeper: The deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: First case in sub-Saharan Africa confirmed

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Nigeria confirmed its first novel coronavirus case in an Italian who flew to Lagos from Milan — the first known case in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization has been working to prepare Africa's health care systems to be ready for the outbreak, which is now also confirmed in Algeria and Egypt.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,700 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 57 mins ago - Health

Ad spending on 2020 primary tops $1 billion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spending on the 2020 presidential primary has officially surpassed the $1 billion mark, with more than half of that total coming from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

Why it matters: It's the most money that has been spent this early on in an election cycle in U.S. history.

The growing coronavirus recession threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact.