Visa, Mastercard, Discover pause plan to track gun shop purchases

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News March 10, 2023

In what is seen as a huge victory for Second Amendment advocates, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover have decided to pause their plans to implement a separate merchant category code for credit card holders who make purchases at guns stores.

The payment processing companies said Thursday they have suspended their work on the International Organization for Standardization’s (IOS) new merchant category code (MCC) for firearms and ammunition stores.

A group of 24 Republican state attorneys general wrote a letter to the payment networks threatening legal action if they moved forward with the plan.

“Visa and Mastercard came to the correct conclusion. However, they shouldn’t just ‘pause’ their implementation of this plan—they should end it definitively,” said Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who led the 24 state GOP group to pressure Visa and Mastercard to drop the standard, in a statement.

There are also bills pending in several state legislatures that would ban the tracking of purchases at gun shops.

In a statement, Visa indicated that the legal pushback influenced their decision: “There is now significant confusion and legal uncertainty in the payments ecosystem, and the state actions disrupt the intent of global standards.”

A MasterCard spokesman confirmed to Fox Business the company has paused work on the new MCC for gun stores: “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,” said Seth Eisen, senior vice president of communications for Mastercard. “It’s for that reason that we have decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific MCC.”

Under pressure from gun-control activists, the IOS announced the new merchant category code for gun stores in September.

Amalgamated Bank, a New-York based “socially responsible” lender and investor owned by Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, is one of the leading advocates for the new code. CEO Priscilla Sims Brown lobbied IOS for the change and has said banks are developing “detection scenarios” that, if triggered, would prompt banks to file a suspicious activity report to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Bloomberg reported.

Gun-rights advocates view the MCC changes and broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement as a leftist attack on conservative-friendly businesses.

In late 2022, National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide condemned this transaction monitoring system as part of a dystopian slippery slope: “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.”

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