Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., along with 100 other Republicans sent letters to the CEOs of Mastercard, American Express and Visa pressuring them about their reported support for creating individual codes identifying firearm purchases. The members argue the plan opens a backdoor to an unofficial gun registry in the country.
House members are concerned about a move by the Internal Organization for Standardization creating a Merchant Category Code (MCC) that would identify when someone uses a credit card to purchase a firearm.
The move comes after New York State Attorney General Letitia James said that “credit card companies must now take the next step and flag suspicious transactions on gun and ammunition sales,” earlier this month.
“Of course, there is no accepted, consistent, scientific, or legitimate way to determine from this date what is and what is not a ‘suspicious’ purchase,” the House members wrote. “A gun control advocate could view any desire to own or obtain a firearm as per se suspicious. Instead, this is a transparent attempt to chill the exercise of constitutionally protected rights and to circumvent existing legal restrictions on the creation of firearm registries by the government.”
The credit card CEOs rejected an attempt to create a firearm-specific MCC last year, stating that they “believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent.”
However, the CEOs appear to have changed their position after Amalgamated Bank applied for a new MCC in June 2022, according to the letter.