Credit Card Companies Were Ready To Track Gun Purchases. Gun Advocates Got Them To Back Down.
Credit card companies
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After gun control advocates persuaded credit card companies to use a new merchant category code (MCC) to help track gun purchases, gun advocates fought back and got the credit card companies to back down.

At the end of August 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, and trustees of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, and Board of Education Retirement System urged American Express, MasterCard, and Visa to support establishing a merchant category code (MCC) for gun and ammunition stores.

In September 2022, Amalgamated Bank announced its application to the International Standards Organization for a new merchant category code (MCC) for gun and ammunition stores had been approved.

“We all have to do our part to stop gun violence,” Priscilla Sims Brown, the president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, stated. “And it sometimes starts with illegal purchases of guns and ammunition. The new code will allow us to fully comply with our duty to report suspicious activity and illegal gun sales to authorities without blocking or impeding legal gun sales. This action answers the call of millions of Americans who want safety from gun violence and we are proud to have led the broad coalition of advocates, shareholders, and elected officials that achieved this historic outcome.”

The same month, 24 attorneys general from around the nation, led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, sent a letter to the CEOs of American Express, Mastercard, and Visa, stating:

As Attorneys General, we have the privilege of protecting our citizens from corporate coordination that hurts consumers. We are also charged with ensuring that consumer data is not unlawfully gathered or used. … Be advised that we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights. Please keep that in mind as you consider whether to proceed with adopting and implementing this Merchant Category Code.

But now, the credit card companies have backed down. Reason Magazine’s J.D. Tuccile reported that a Discover representative emailed him, “To continue alignment and interoperability with the industry, Discover is removing the new merchant category code identified as MCC 5723 from our April 23.1 Network Release.”

A MasterCard representative added, “Today, 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. It’s for that reason that we have decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific MCC.”

Visa and American Express are also reportedly pausing the implementation of the MCC.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Credit Card Companies Were Ready To Track Gun Purchases. Gun Advocates Got Them To Back Down.