PayPal funds university research project aiming to curtail gun violence

SOURCE: Nolichuckyjake /
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University will collaborate with Paypal, leading online payments company in a research that aims to end illegal gun trafficking.

By U2B Staff 

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PayPal is funding a research initiative led by Northeastern University and the University of Chicago to better understand illegal firearm trafficking through its platform, in hopes of addressing gun violence in the country.

This research collaboration, funded by Paypal will be joined by the Center on Crime and Community Resilience at Northeastern University and the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

The research team is led by the Director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, Anthony Braga. The team will include law enforcement groups, as well as policymakers, and researchers from the universities as well as personnel from the Violence Prevention Research Programme at the University of California.

To facilitate this research, Paypal is giving the research team access to its databases. Researchers will then use information derived from the database to understand the mechanics of illegal firearm trafficking.

This data will help financial companies and law enforcement understand what types of payment methods are used to finance illegal transactions and prevent future transactions from taking place.


Commenting on this research partnership, Braga, whose research mainly focuses on firearm-related violence and reducing illegal access to firearms said that by undertaking this research, the team hopes to establish a new area of study that could have major policy implications. These include identifying how sourced guns are financed.

He also added that research in this area is critical as it is a subject that is poorly understood by both researchers and policymakers.

Braga stated that by improving the understanding of this topic, policymakers could devise effective strategies that will eventually help enforcement agencies curtail the sale of illegal guns and ultimately curb gun violence.

Braga added that the illegal acquisition of firearms by people who are most likely to perpetrate serious violence involving a firearm is a significant problem in the U.S.

In 2018 alone, he says, there were more than 10,000 murders in the U.S. involving a firearm.


President and Chief Executive Officer of PayPal, Dan Schulman says that this collaboration will provide the company that has since banned the transaction of firearms on the platform with an opportunity to seek solutions to the problem of illegal firearms.

Shulman said, “We are working to combat illegal gun trafficking, which will help to reduce and eliminate firearm-related violence.”

He added that PayPal is proud of the work they carry out with law enforcement officials globally to assist in efforts to identify and stop illegal activity from occurring and that this research is an extension of these efforts and will help law enforcement and all payment platforms to better understand and address the issue of illegal firearms trafficking.