GOP AGs call on credit card companies to drop code to track gun sales

In a letter to the CEOs of American Express, Mastercard, and Visa, the 24 attorneys general...
In a letter to the CEOs of American Express, Mastercard, and Visa, the 24 attorneys general argue the new Merchant Category Code to identify credit card sales of guns and ammunition won't protect public safety, but rather help create a "list of gun buyers" that could be misused.(MGN)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 2:13 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is joining with AGs from 23 other states to oppose a recent move by credit card companies to track gun and ammunition purchases.

Earlier this month, the International Standards Organization approved a new Merchant Category Code to identify credit card sales of guns and ammunition. Advocates say the code is simply a tool to help financial institutions detect suspicious sales that might be associated with illegal activity like gun trafficking or mass shootings.

But in a letter to the CEOs of American Express, Mastercard, and Visa, the 24 attorneys general argue the new code won’t protect public safety. Instead, they say, it will help create a list of gun buyers that could be misused.

“Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike,” the letter reads. “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.”

To read the full letter, click here.

The new code was approved following a petition by Amalgamated Bank. It’s been talked about for years, but there was a renewed push for the change following mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Highland Park, Illinois.

“We all have to do our part to stop gun violence,” said Priscilla Sims Brown, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “And it sometimes starts with illegal purchases of guns and ammunition. The new code will allow us to fully comply with our duty to report suspicious activity and illegal gun sales to authorities without blocking or impeding legal gun sales.”

The coalition of attorneys general wrote, “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.”

In addition to Attorney General Fitch, Attorneys General from the following states joined the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia. The letter was led by Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti (TN) and Attorney General Austin Knudsen (MT).

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