Credit-Card Companies Think Twice About Tracking Purchases at Gun Stores

posted on March 10, 2023
Sean MacEntee courtesy Flickr

Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover have decided to pause plans specifically designed to track purchases in gun stores.

This comes after Discover previously announced it intended to move forward with the implementation of a new merchant category code (MCC) created for tracking any purchases made through stores that sell, among other things, firearms.

The decision to pause comes after pushback in the forms of bills designed to prevent financial institutions from requiring the use of a firearms-specific MCC to track purchases began making their way through various state legislatures.

“There are bills advancing in several states related to the use of this new code. If passed, the result will be an inconsistency in how this ISO standard could be applied by merchants, issuers, acquirers, and networks,” said a Mastercard spokesman. “It’s for that reason that we have decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific [MCC].”

Discover, meanwhile, said its reasoning for the pause was “to continue alignment and interoperability with the industry.” Visa said it did so because of “significant confusion and legal uncertainty.”

The gun-purchase-tracking scheme, if it were it implemented, would “create a registry of gun owners that [gun-control groups] have long sought and provide them with another tool to attack lawful industry when firearms are used in crime,” as reported by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA).

Legislation to counter this disingenuous attempt at a gun registry has been moving through multiple states, including Florida and Texas.

In announcing the legislation, Florida state Sen. Danny Burgess (R) said, “This is the United States of America. You don’t get penalized for exercising a Constitutional right. The Second Amendment is nonnegotiable, and here in Florida, we are going to fight to protect the rights of Floridians.” 

And, in Texas, state Rep. Matt Schaefer (R) introduced similar legislation. “We cannot let big banks and credit card companies create a gun registry which will be used against law abiding gun owners,” tweeted Schaefer.

A growing number of attorneys general, state-level representatives and more have also expressed concerns about this policy, should it be enacted.

“While gun owners may be able in the short term to modify their purchasing practices, or avoid companies like Discover that infringe on their privacy and rights, they shouldn’t have to fear scrutiny or harassment for their lawful—and especially their constitutionally-protected—purchases,” wrote NRA-ILA.


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