We recently reported that pushback from state legislatures has the credit card industry placing its merchant category code on pause. You can read more about that below this update. However, the pushback was more than just talk. In fact, Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi recently signed into law the Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act, HB 1110. The law prohibits using the new merchant category code to track gun purchases via credit card in Mississippi.
Mississippi Signs Law Prohibiting the Tracking of Gun Purchases Via Credit Card
Mississippi joins a small handful of states moving forward with the Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act. Included in the list of states are Florida, Idaho (signed), North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming (signed).
Although the act is in a different stage of development in each state, the movement is growing and making good progress. This, combined with the growing list of states adopting Constitutional Carry, is a good sign for law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment.
The Mississippi House approved the final version of HB 1110 by a vote of 115-0 on March 27, 2023. Likewise, the bill then moved on to the Senate, where a vote of 52-0 approved it. Following its passage, Governor Tate Reeves signed the bill into law on April 14, 2023, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024.
The law prohibits financial institutions and credit card companies from sharing customers’ personal information. This pertains specifically to purchases of firearms, ammunition, and other related components and accessories. As a result, it will prevent the potential exploitation of customers’ private information. Likewise, it will also prevent the denial of services from politically motivated activists.
It does this in three ways. First, it prohibits using the merchant category code to distinguish firearms retailers from general merchandise or sporting goods retailers. Second, it prohibits financial institutions from discriminating against a firearm retailer based on the use or non-use of the code. Finally, it prohibits the disclosure of financial records unless required by law or regulation. Correspondingly, it allows the Attorney General to investigate alleged violations and act as the law permits.
The NSSF Applauds Signing of Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act
Following its signing, the NSSF released a statement applauding Mississippi and Governor Reeves:
“This is a tremendous victory for the firearm industry and those law-abiding Mississippi gun owners who lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
“Certain ‘woke’ banks advocated to use a special Merchant Category Code specific to purchases made at firearm retailers, risking the possibility of creating a ‘back-door’ firearm registry. NSSF opposed the creation and administration of this firearm retailer-specific MCC and we are grateful to Mississippi’s legislators and Governor Reeves for standing with the firearm industry and law-abiding gun owners to protect the privacy of their financial transactions.”
Keep checking back with Personal Defense World on this developing story.
On March 10, 2023, PDW reported:
Once again, the Bill of Rights clashes with gun control and emerges victorious. No matter how hard Democrats, media, and corporate America try to convince us that gun control is popular, it isn’t. So, when credit card companies kowtowed to the gun control lobby to track gun purchases, it wasn’t met well. In fact, the opposite happened, causing Visa and Mastercard to rethink their positions.
Visa and Mastercard to Suspend Tracking Credit Card Gun Purchases
Following the decision of credit card processing companies to implement the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant category code, a series of bills entered state legislatures to block it. As a result, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover (according to Bloomberg) are suspending the plan.
Bloomberg writes, “The payments giants [Visa and Mastercard] — along with Discover Financial Services — are delaying the work after a series of bills in state legislatures targeted the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant category code. The MCC was created to be used when processing transactions for gun and ammunition stores.”
Likewise, Visa also cites “significant confusion and legal uncertainty” surrounding the MCC, a spokesperson told Bloomberg. Similarly, Discover released a statement that it is removing the MCC “to continue alignment and interoperability with the industry.”
In other words, they messed around and found out.
According to the Daily Wire, “Nearly two dozen GOP attorneys general sent a letter to Visa, Mastercard, and American Express in September over plans to adopt the new code and track gun and ammo purchases. The state prosecutors warned the companies that such tracking could be used to infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
The reversal is seen as a victory, and many are celebrating it. However, one Senator states two serious problems in his celebratory tweet. Specifically, that US companies are taking orders from international NGOs and the financial sector is becoming politicized.
The NSSF finds encouragement in the pause stating:
“The Firearm Industry Trade Association, is encouraged by the announcement from Visa and MasterCard that they will “pause” plans to implement a special Merchant Category Code (MCC) specific to purchases at firearm retailers with their credit cards. That announcement was later echoed by American Express and Discover, which previously announced plans to implement the special codes.
“This is a positive development that the major credit card companies have recognized the hazards of implementing this special MCC for purchases at a firearm retailer. However, this is an announcement of a pause, not an abandonment of these special codes.
“NSSF is committed to ensuring that these specific MCCs not be used at all as they have the potential for exploitation of customer privacy and denial of services by politically-motivated activists. These codes were the product of Amalgamated Bank and Andrew Ross Sorkin to specifically track the lawful purchases of firearms and ammunition by law-abiding Americans.
“In reality, it is just the first step, by the admission of these two parties, to isolating and eventually denying the exercise of a Constitutional right by those who oppose lawful firearm ownership. NSSF will continue to work with state legislators and Congress to put an end to this blatantly discriminatory practice of using private enterprise to construct a back-door firearm registry.”
Keep checking back with Personal Defense World on this developing story.
On February 23, 2023, PDW reported:
Last year we reported that credit card companies would begin tracking gun purchases thanks to a new ISO code. The unconstitutional plan was not well received throughout the firearm community. Not to mention the list of 24 Attorneys General that weren’t too keen on it either (below). Unfortunately, the gun control lobby is completely out of control and believes they are above the Constitution. As a result, they plan to move forward starting in April.
Credit Card Company Discover to Begin Tracking Firearm Purchases
Discover recently announced that starting in April it will implement the new code specified by the International Organization for Standardization. As reported below, the ISO decides on classifications of merchant categories used by payment cards. Last September, the organization dedicated a code for gun retailers in a supposed attempt to curb gun violence.
This comes at a time when the current administration is working overtime to label gun violence a public health crisis. And I think we all know what happens when Democrats label something a public health crisis.
According to Reuters, “A Discover spokesperson said following the publication of the story that other payment network companies had already decided to implement the new code in April, and that Discover was following their lead. The Discover spokesperson declined to name those peers.”
Likewise, representatives for Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have also declined to comment. But the companies claimed last fall that they would work to implement the code while respecting privacy rights.
Discover will be the first payment processing company to implement the code that will be available at the end of February. Although no dates are provided, other credit card companies are expected to follow suit.
This, coupled with California’s new bill requiring banking institutions to discriminate against firearm manufacturers, is just another unconstitutional end run around the Second Amendment.
On September 22, 2022, PDW reported:
For some, a credit card is a helpful backup or tool for online purchases, for others, it is a necessity. Personally, I have always been partial to using cash for any kind of firearm or ammunition purchase. However, for some people, it is easier to use a credit card for their gun or ammo purchases. But it looks like that is now an even worse idea than it was before.
24 Attorneys General Warn Credit Card Companies Not to Track Gun Purchases
As mentioned in our original report below, the change in Merchant Category Code is nothing more than back-door gun control. Fortunately, 24 Attorneys General are having none of it. If you’re keeping track, that is nearly half the country.
As a result, they sent a letter to credit card companies warning them not to move forward with the new code. The letter went out to the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
In the letter, the AGs state that the new code will not protect public safety. In fact, it will only target law-abiding citizens and their Constitutional Second Amendment rights. Not to mention create false and misleading information:
“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.”
It also creates a scenario for misuse:
“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.”
A Stark Warning
The AGs notify the CEOs that it is clear their actions create the potential for both civil and criminal liability. They reference press releases from public officials which indicate that this was done in concert with various state actors. As a result, they have a stark warning for the credit card companies:
“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.
“Be advised that we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights. Please keep that in mind as you consider whether to proceed with adopting and implementing this Merchant Category Code.”
The letter was signed by the following Attorneys General:
- Jonathan Skrmetti (TN)
- Austin Knudsen (MT)
- Steve Marshall (AL)
- Daniel Cameron (KY)
- Treg R. Taylor (AK)
- Jeff Landry (LA)
- Mark Brnovich (AZ)
- Lynn Fitch (MS)
- Leslie Rutledge (AR)
- Eric Schmitt (MO)
- Ashley Moody (FL)
- Douglas J. Peterson (NE)
- Chris Carr (GA)
- John Formella (NH)
- Todd Rokita (IN)
- Dave Yost (OH)
- Derek Schmidt (KS)
- John M. O’Conner (OK)
- Jason Miyares (VA)
- Alan Wilson (SC)
- Bridget Hill (WY)
- Ken Paxton (TX)
- Patrick Morrisey (WV)
- Sean Reyes (UT)
On September 13, 2022, PDW reported:
Credit Card Companies Help Democrats track Gun Purchases
The next time you head off to your local gun shop or sporting goods store to pick up the latest hotness, you might want to bring your cash. Although Mastercard and American Express have already pledged fealty to the gun control crowd, Visa was the holdout—until now. Recently Visa caved under pressure from Democrats to help them flag gun and ammo purchases.
Up until now, guns and ammo sales showed up in broader categories like general merchandise or sporting goods. However, the International Organization for Standardization voted to create a new merchant category code for firearm stores. They are selling it as a means to track suspicious sales.
According to Reuters, “In a statement, Amalgamated Chief Executive Priscilla Sims Brown said the codes will allow financial institutions to use new tools to detect and report suspicious activity associated with gun trafficking and mass shootings, without impeding legal gun sales.”
Although this seems on the up and up, like everything from the gun control lobby, you have to dig deeper.
“Today’s announcement is a critical first step towards giving banks and credit card companies the tools they need to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing trends – like a domestic extremist building up an arsenal — and report them to law enforcement,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
To clarify, this comes around the same time the President labeled Republicans “fascists” and a “threat to democracy.” Not to mention leaked documents from the FBI and DHS labeling Second Amendment supporters as “Domestic Extremists.”
They can say it’s about curbing gun violence all they want. But it’s not hard to see where all of this is going when the pieces start to come together.
Coming Through the Back Door
As Democrats and the gun control lobby try to convince us that a majority of Americans want gun control, facts prove otherwise. But they know this, and that is why they keep jimmying the lock on the back door.
Everything from treating gun violence as a “public health crisis” to strongarming shipping companies to stop shipping firearm-related products. And now, tracking firearm-related purchases via credit card companies.
They know that gun control is unpopular, so they’re looking for any avenue that doesn’t require a vote. But they also know that people see what they are doing, so a little gaslighting is in order. As in the case of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who tweeted a nonsensical false equivalency:
Someone should remind her that fraud and money laundering are illegal at any and every level. However, firearm ownership is not—despite their best efforts.
The reality is that they hate the Second Amendment and are not even trying to hide it anymore. Remember this in November. There is no level they will not stoop to separate you from your God-given right to self-defense.
I have always been an advocate for taking cash to the gun store. But now more than ever, it is important to leave the credit card at home. I wouldn’t even use a debit card. It’s none of their business when you legally purchase firearm-related products. That is your right as an American citizen.
There are a lot of firearms and firearm-related products sold in the U.S. every year. And if everyone stopped using a credit card for those purchases (or at all), it would hurt them where it counts. Corporations need to learn to stick to business and stay out of politics. There is nothing in it for them but loss.