Coalition of 24 State Attorneys General Send Letter to Credit Card Companies for Violation of Second Amendment Rights
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.”
On Friday, September 9, 2022, 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.
“An international standards body has approved the creation of a merchant code for gun retailers, a representative said on Friday, following pressure from activists who say it will help track suspicious weapons purchases,” according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, a group of twenty-four state attorneys general sent a letter to American Express Company CEO Stephen J. Squeri, Mastercard Inc. CEO Michael Miebach, and Visa Inc. CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. strongly objecting to the companies’ plans to implement the ISO Merchant Category Code.
“The creation of a Merchant Category Code for sales at U.S. gun stores will not only not accomplish its intended goal, but is rife for misuse and abuse,” Attorney General Schmitt announced. “Missourians value their Second Amendment rights and oppose any attempts to create a de-facto gun registry. I’m proud to stand up for those rights and will oppose this decision by the major credit card companies at every turn.”
The letter stated, “The new code will not protect public safety. Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike. First, efforts to track and monitor sales at gun stores would only result in vague and misleading information. This categorization would not recognize the difference, for example, between the purchase of a gun safe and a firearm. Nor would it capture firearm purchases made at department stores, resulting in arbitrarily disparate treatment of “gun store” merchants and consumers.”
“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.”
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The letter contends that this system will unfairly target law-abiding merchants and consumers without aiding public safety, as the coding system does not distinguish between the purchase of a gun safe and a firearm, for example. Therefore, the information gathered would do little to fulfill the goal of staving off future gun violence by hopefully “catching illicit activity.”
Even more importantly, the letter asserts that “purposefully tracking this information can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate,” and that “creating a ‘list of gun buyers’ creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be leaked, discovered, hacked, or otherwise obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
The letter closes by stating that “Americans are tired of seeing corporate leverage used to advance political goals that cannot muster basic democratic goals,” and the promise that the 24 attorneys general “will marshal the full scope” of their “lawful authority to protect their citizen and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights.”
In addition to Missouri, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Hampshire, and Virginia signed on to the letter.