Guns Law Proponents Hail New Credit Card Code As A Way To Reduce Suspicious Sales


Firearms are on display at the Bob’s Little Sport Gun Shop in Glassboro, New Jersey, United States on May 26, 2022.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Gun law proponents praise a decision to adopt a new sales code for gun store transactions, a move they had pushed to flag suspicious purchases.

Last week, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which sets standards for payment transactions, approved the special trade code for credit and debit card transactions at US gun stores. Over the weekend, Visa, MasterCard and American Express said they would be using the new code.

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said the move is a critical first step in giving banks and credit card companies the tools they need to spot dangerous trends in gun buying — like a domestic extremist building an arsenal. – and report it to the police.

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A merchant category code indicates the types of services or goods sold to consumers. Previously, gun shops were categorized as “general merchandise”.

The New York and California Attorneys General and Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., were among the other notable figures who supported the effort. In New York, dozens of lawmakers had sent letters to the leaders of major credit card companies urging them to adopt the code.

“When you buy a plane ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policy for gun and ammunition stores,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told the The Bharat Express News on weekends.

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In a statement, the National Rifle Association said the move “is nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans transaction by transaction.”

“This isn’t about detection or prevention or any virtuous motivation — it’s about creating a national registry of gun owners,” the statement said.

Mastercard said it will work to protect “all legal trade” and “the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders” on its networks. American Express and Visa, the world’s largest payment processor, have also committed to implementing the new code.

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with the next steps while ensuring we protect all legal trade on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules” Visa said in a statement.

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“These new trade codes will help banks and financial institutions track down suspicious and potentially illegal arms purchases,” said a statement from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, which advocates public action that can protect people from gun violence.

Amalgamated Bank and the California Teachers’ Pension Fund were also among those who campaigned heavily for the new code.

In a press release Friday, Priscilla Sims Brown, president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, said the code “will enable us to fully comply with our duty to report suspicious activity and illegal arms sales to authorities without blocking or interfering with legal arms sales.” .”

Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which both allow gun sales in some of their US stores, did not respond to requests for comment Monday.