Gun control activists have encouraged the decision, claiming it will allow for easier tracking of gun sales and help prevent mass shootings, the Associated Press reported. Second Amendment proponents, however, see the move as a dangerous encroachment on legal firearm sales.
“The (industry’s) decision to create a firearm specific code is nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at a time,” said National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide.
Visa’s decision will allow banks to make decisions with enhanced information on whether they will allow purchases at gun shops on their cards. The move could also cause other corporations like Mastercard and American Express to adopt a similar policy, the AP reported. The payment processing company, however, claimed that it will continue to “protect” the legal selling and purchasing of goods on its network.
“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules,” Visa said in a statement.
Earlier this week leftist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said credit card companies have an obligation to work harder toward stopping mass shootings.
“Credit card companies like @Visa, @Mastercard, and @AmericanExpress can and should do more to help stop mass shootings,” Warren tweeted. “[Rep. Madeleine Dean] and I are urging these companies to step up and help identify suspicious purchases to prevent gun violence.”
Credit card companies like @Visa, @Mastercard, and @AmericanExpress can and should do more to help stop mass shootings.@RepDean and I are urging these companies to step up and help identify suspicious purchases to prevent gun violence.https://t.co/kkqsYxpmzd
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 6, 2022
The two lawmakers authored a letter, which was signed by more than 12 other Democrats, urging credit card companies to more closely track gun sales. “The creation of a new [merchant category code] for gun and ammunition retail stores would be the first step towards facilitating the collection of valuable financial data that could help law enforcement in countering the financing of terrorism efforts,” the letter read.