Visa and Mastercard announced to pause the implementation of a new merchant category code that would track consumers’ purchases of firearms and ammunition.
A big win for conservative groups and Second Amendment advocates.
The Gateway Pundit previously reported that the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, along with other elected officials and state pension fund trustees, have requested that major credit card companies implement a weapon code for the purchase of firearms and ammunition.
Officials in New York City and the state of New York have asked American Express, MasterCard, and Visa to make a four-digit merchant category code (MCC) like the ones used for other retail categories to better identify and report suspicious behavior, such as large purchases of firearms.
“The creation of a new code would help financial institutions detect and report suspicious activity, such as unusually large purchases of firearms or ammunition, or purchases from multiple stores, that may be used for criminal purposes,” it claimed.
According to the news release, “credit card companies use a four-digit merchant category code to classify businesses by the types of goods and services sold. Merchant category codes are set by the International Organization on Standardization (ISO). Unique merchant category codes exist for grocery stores, sporting goods stores, bicycle shops, and many other retailers — but not for gun and ammunition stores.”
Last year, the International Organization for Standardization –the organization in charge of setting standards for business transactions — voted to create a “merchant category code” for gun purchases.
This will allow banks that process payments from gun retailers to assign the new code to the gun stores.
West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced on Friday that Visa and Mastercard “dropped their plans to track firearm and ammunition purchases.”
“This is a clear victory for consumers and Americans’ civil liberties,” said Moore. “The implementation of this new merchant category code would have created a backdoor national gun registry that could be used by the radical gun control lobby to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
“West Virginia once again led the way to push back against another woke attempt to undermine our values and way of life. Visa and Mastercard’s decision comes as our state prepares to complete passage of landmark legislation to ban this kind of financial-tracking scheme. Our action – and their response – once again demonstrates that when states use our collective voice in the marketplace, we can turn the tide against the woke elites trying to jam their extremist agendas down our throats.”
After Visa and Mastercard announced their plans to implement a separate merchant category code for gun shop purchases, the payment networks got significant pushback from the gun lobby as well as conservative politicians. A group of 24 GOP state attorneys general wrote a letter to the payment networks threatening legal action against Visa and Mastercard if they moved forward with their plan.
There are also bills pending in several state legislatures that would ban the tracking of purchases at gun shops, which would have made it even more difficult for Visa and Mastercard to implement the categorization.
In a statement, Visa indicated that the legal pushback was partially the reason they have paused their implementation.
Visa and Mastercard have said that the reason for the gun shop category was a decision outside of their control. The International Organization for Standardization, better known as ISO, is the group that categorizes merchant codes and Visa and Mastercard were just following their decision. Gun control advocates lobbied for the change to ISO, not to Visa and Mastercard.
“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.