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The Battle Over Credit Card Tracking of Firearm Purchases Continues

A recent post published by the National Rifle Associations Institute for Legislative Action (NRA ILA) provided some updated information on the ongoing drama involving gun control activists' attempts to use credit card companies to regulate the Second Amendment. Back in August, we reported how control groups and politicians were pressuring credit card companies to create a new category to track individuals' purchases. Any firearm purchases, or those associate with firearms, such as accessories, ammunition or similar, would fall into this new category. But it didn't stop there.

credit cards

The ISO and Merchant Codes —

The same groups lobbied the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Who is the ISO you ask? Well, here is the information from the ‘about us' page:

ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 167 national standards bodies.

Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

You'll find our Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. Learn more about our structure and how we are governed.

Firearm dealers previously fell into the sporting goods merchant category code (MCC). However, earlier this month, this global organization approved a new merchant code for firearm retailers. This change was what credit card companies needed to begin their surveillance of Americans' firearm related purchases.

I don't think I can overstate the danger associated with this scheme. Thankfully, at least some elected officials are paying attention and have drawn lines in the sand. Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti ,along with 22 other states sent a letter to the CEOs of Visa, American Express and Mastercard. Here is an excerpt:

More importantly, purposefully tracking this information can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate. Creating and tracking this data only matters if your institutions are considering using that information to take further, harmful action—like infringing upon consumer privacy, inhibiting constitutionally protected purchases by selectively restricting the use of your payment systems, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted “disfavored” merchants. 

Press releases from public officials make clear that the new merchant code was created and adopted in concert with various state actors, which may additionally create the potential for both civil and criminal liability for conspiracy to deprive Americans of their civil rights. Social policy should be debated and determined within our political institutions. Americans are tired of seeing corporate leverage used to advance political goals that cannot muster basic democratic support. The Second Amendment is a fundamental right, but it’s also a fundamental American value. Our financial institutions should stop lending their market power to those who wish to attack that value.

Senator Cramer along with Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tim Scott (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Steve Daines (R-MT) signed a letter written to the Bank Policy Institute (BPI). The letter made it clear these Senators opposed these actions and saw it as a misuse of the companies' power. This is one part of the letter:

Let us be clear: banks should not misuse their power to hinder the ability of law-abiding Americans to exercise a constitutional right by creating de-facto bans on legal firearm purchases. Addressing complex and contentious social and policy issues that involve balancing competing values is the job of democratically-elected leaders, not unelected bank executives. We urge BPI’s members to resist the political pressure to insert themselves into such issues, especially firearms. Instead, our nation’s largest financial institutions should focus on serving the needs of their customers without bias.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis explained how he would do what he could to prohibit any company that abuses their power to chill the Second Amendment, from operating in the state. Here is what Patronis said:

The second amendment is foundational to our American way of life. The idea that law-abiding Americans would be put on some kind of corporate watchlist is disturbing. Our rights come from our Creator, not the government, and especially not big corporations. It is clear that the actions by these credit card companies are part of a larger effort to curtail God-given constitutional rights of Americans. It is also symptomatic of the virus known as ESG, which is part of a global effort to socially re-engineer the country that we love so much. There is no way we are going to allow that to happen in the free state of Florida.

“If we come to the legislative session and companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express are generating these reports to create a chilling effect against the purchase of firearms, then I’ll work with the Legislature to pass a law penalizing businesses who are targeting the right to bear arms. We’ve seen a groundbreaking ruling come out of the Fifth Circuit limiting corporations’ ability to curtail American’s constitutional rights, so we are on solid legal footing to pursue a bill protecting Floridians 2nd Amendment Rights. We can also take it a step further by barring these companies from doing any business with the State of Florida. We will send a message out to these large corporations that if you are interested in doing business with Florida, you need to make sure that you’re protecting Floridians right to arm and defend themselves.”

A recent 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling in (NetChoice v. Paxton), determined that corporations do not have a right to limit Americans' Constitutionally protected rights. However, that ruling, nor the actions of senators and other elected officials seem to have derailed this plan.

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2 Responses to The Battle Over Credit Card Tracking of Firearm Purchases Continues

  1. Larry J October 26, 2022 at 11:40 am #

    I was told Discover card does not go along with what the other cards do by reporting gun purchases.

    • Matthew Maruster October 26, 2022 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Larry, I haven’t confirmed one way or the other in reference to Discover. Who did you hear that from?

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