Senate Republicans demand credit card companies reverse decision to track gun store sales

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Senate Republicans are urging major credit card companies to reverse the decision to classify gun store purchases separately.

Sen. Roger Marshall, Kansas, is leading a group of 12 GOP senators to demand that the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard and American Express drop gun store sales tracking plans. The companies recently announced that they will apply the new International Organization for Standardization Merchant Category Code to gunsmith sales. Transactions at gun stores were previously labeled as “general merchandise”.

In a letter obtained exclusively by FOX Business, Republican lawmakers say merchant code compliance could open a backdoor gun control registry impacting law-abiding gun owners.

“This move, which is already being hailed by radical anti-gun activists, is the first step toward backdoor gun control on law-abiding Americans,” the senators wrote to the CEOs. “Any changes intended to affect a U.S. citizen’s ability to legally purchase a firearm are up to Congress, not the payment networks, international standards organizations, or financial institutions that some of you serve.”

VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX TO SEPARATELY CATEGORIZE GUN STORE SALES

Sen. Roger Marshall, Kansas, is leading a group of 12 GOP senators to demand that the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard and American Express drop gun store sales tracking plans. (Getty Pictures)

Merchant category codes are not exclusive to gun store sales, as codes exist for almost all types of purchases, including those at supermarkets, clothing stores, cafes, and other retailers.

But the codes only indicate the type of merchant where the credit or debit card is used, not the specific items. This means that an item like a gun safe, for example, could be flagged as a major purchase at a gun store, because one can be purchased for thousands of dollars.

“Due to the nature of the information collected from merchants when processing a transaction, you will not be able to tell what is being purchased; as such, the purported benefits of detecting suspicious purchases are nil,” they said. writes the Republicans. “Given this, it is clear that these changes are being pushed for far more nefarious reasons, and are likely only the first step with calls to refuse to fully address gun sales in the near future.”

According to the letter, ISO is a voluntary organization that cannot unilaterally prescribe how business is conducted.

“To be perfectly clear, your hand is not forced,” the lawmakers wrote. “Creating a new merchant code for gun transactions is a choice made by each of your businesses. You are choosing the side of gun control advocates over privacy and second amendment rights. of millions of law-abiding Americans.”

“You are choosing to insert yourselves into this political debate – which should only be conducted at the ballot box and in Congress – and in doing so, you are making it clear that you are more than impartial network operators seeking to maximize value for your customers and shareholders. You yourselves have become anti-gun activists, consciously or not,” they continued.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND ANSWERS AS CREDIT CARD COMPANIES PRESSED TO TRACK GUN PURCHASES

Several credit cards

Credit card companies recently announced that they will apply the new International Organization for Standardization Merchant Code to gunsmith sales. Transactions at gun stores were previously labeled as “general merchandise”. (Stock)

Republicans have told CEOs that Congress will have no choice but to intercede on behalf of law-abiding American gun owners if their companies insist on tracking gun store sales.

The senators also asked credit card companies for answers on a number of questions regarding the new gun store purchase labeling, including their understanding of the ISO process, their contribution to the ISO, coordination with outside entities such as activist organizations or politicians, how the information will be used to curb suspicious firearms sales, and how the financial privacy of law-abiding customers will be ensured.

Gun control activists have argued that a separate category for sales at gun stores would help track suspicious amounts of gun sales that could potentially lead to a mass shooting. A week before the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the shooter purchased more than $26,000 in guns and ammunition using credit cards.

New York City officials had been pressuring the ISO and banks to adopt the new gun sales code.

Gun sales

Smith and Wesson handguns are displayed during the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 5, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“These credit card companies must now take the next step and report suspicious transactions on arms and ammunition sales just as they do for fraud and money laundering,” the attorney general said. New York State Letitia James in a recent tweet. “By working together and using the tools at our disposal, we will help protect our communities and save lives.”

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The senators’ letter comes just days after House Republicans sent credit card companies a similar request for answers about tracking gun store sales.

“A gun control advocate might view any desire to possess or obtain a firearm as suspect in itself,” the House members wrote at the time. “Instead, it is a transparent attempt to chill the exercise of constitutionally protected rights and circumvent existing legal restrictions on the creation of government gun registries.”

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