A large and growing group of GOP lawmakers are responding to reports indicating that payment processors and credit card companies are set to assign firearm sales a specific code for easier tracking.
Last week, we reported that Visa has become the latest American corporation to cave to the anti-gun left when the world’s biggest payment processor announced that it will launch a separate classification for firearms purchases at gun stores.
The company claims that the new classification will allow for easier tracking of firearms sales as a means of helping to prevent mass shootings, according to The Associated Press.
The Daily Wire noted further:
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.
Naturally, gun rights advocates see the move as a huge encroachment on the legal sale of firearms by left-wing activists who, 10 minutes ago, were complaining about a ‘woman’s right to privacy’ having been taken away by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
“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,” noted National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide.
And now, more than 100 Republicans are demanding answers about the special coding as well.
The Daily Wire noted in a separate report:
In letters to the CEOs of Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and House Republicans demanded the companies answer questions about their decision to adopt new Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that would categorize gun purchases separately from other purchases. The Republican members asked the creditors to provide their prospective standards to the public, and questioned whether categorizing gun purchases and flagging law enforcement was an attempt to skirt federal law by effectively creating a gun registry.
“As you know, the ISO uses four-digit codes known as MCCs to classify merchants and businesses by the type of goods or services provided,” the members began. “There were already two MCCs that captured legal firearm sales, 5999 for Miscellaneous Retail Stores and 5941 for Sporting Goods Stores.”
Initially, an application was made to the ISO in 2021 to implement the special firearms code by left-wing activist Amalgamated Bank, The Daily Wire noted, but the request was resisted by the ISO as well as credit card payment processors at the time.
Visa and American Express both pushed back on the request.
“Specific MCC [codes] in narrow [retail] areas are challenging,” a staffer from American Express told CBS News in September. “Managing long lists of narrowly defined MCCs can become burdensome if there isn’t a compelling reason for the long list.”
Visa also warned against turning the payment processing industry into left-wing morality police.
“We believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent,” the company wrote in a letter to Congressional Democrats who were pushing for the ISO to adopt the special code, CBS News noted.
But Amalgamated Bank re-applied in June, and the ISO relented this time.
Amalgamated Bank subsequently “stated its intent to utilize software to flag allegedly suspicious purchases made by Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights and file these red flags with law enforcement,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “Of course, there is no accepted, consistent, scientific, or legitimate way to determine from this data what is and what is not a ‘suspicious’ purchase. A gun control advocate could view any desire to own or obtain a firearm as per se suspicious.
“Instead, this is a transparent attempt to chill the exercise of constitutionally protected rights and to circumvent existing legal restrictions on the creation of firearm registries by the government,” the lawmakers added.
Among the questions asked by the lawmakers:
— Do the payment processing companies really support the new MCC code and if so, what changed their minds
— How will the companies use the coding only to focus on criminal intent
— What standards are going to be adopted for utilization of the tracking code
— How companies plan to inform cardholders of the impact of the new code
— Whether the companies will inform cardholders that their lawful transaction was flagged for law enforcement; if not, why do companies think it’s not important to notify cardholders.