PayPal Holdings Inc. is teaming up with criminologists and experts at several universities to probe the payment systems used in the trafficking of illegal firearms, Reuters reports. The research aims to help financial companies and law enforcement understand what types of payment methods are used to finance illegal transactions and prevent them from taking place, PayPal. The effort will be led by the Center on Crime and Community Resilience at Northeastern University and the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The hope is that having a better understanding of illegal gun trafficking will help reduce gun violence, said Pay Pal’s Dave Szuchman. “There haven’t been comprehensive studies done,” he said.
The San Jose, Ca.-based company bans customers from using its services – including popular peer-to-peer payments app Venmo – to buy or sell firearms. The research initiative comes as other large companies, including Citigroup and Walmart have tried to address gun safety through financing or sales after many mass shootings across the U.S. in recent years. The research will be led by Anthony Braga, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern and an expert on gun violence and reducing illegal access to firearms.