PayPal Funds Research Into Illegal Firearm Distribution

Feb 21, 2020 3:00 PM ET

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan group that attempts to track every incident of gun violence in the country, there were 418 mass shootings in the United States last year. With the U.S. holding the title for more public mass shootings than any other country globally, increasingly, Americans are looking to all stakeholders to solve the gun violence epidemic. In fact, nearly seven-in-10 (69%) Americans believe companies must act to address gun control. Now, one company is seeking out systematic solutions to the problem.

This week, PayPal announced it will be funding research to, “generate actionable insights to help address illegal firearm distribution.” The study, in partnership with the Center on Crime and Community Resilience at Northeastern University along with the University of Chicago Crime Lab will seek to, “better understand what types of payment methods are used to finance illegally-sourced firearms in the United States.” The effort ladders up to other commitments from PayPal including prohibiting firearm sales on its platform and investing in preventing illegal firearm sales.

PayPal CEO, Dan Schulman, announced the initiative in a recent blog post on LinkedIn announcing the initiative, “Using our platform for good is at the core of who we are as a company. While this research is only in the initial stages, today’s announcement is a significant first step in taking a collaborative and strategic approach towards eradicating illegally-sourced firearms trafficking.”

In recent years, more companies have entered the gun control debate with diverse approaches, from eliminating the sales of firearms in stores to making large donations to nonprofits like Everytown for Gun Safety. PayPal’s method adds a new dynamic. Through investing in research to understand the spread of illegal firearms, PayPal is hoping to find solutions to the many roots of gun violence issues.