Credit card companies in the United States have just announced that they will begin using a new merchant category number for gun shops across the country. This change, according to gun control advocates, will aid in the identification of prospective mass shooters and gun traffickers.
On Friday, the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization officially adopted the code. Supporters of the idea argue it will aid in tracing suspicious transactions involving firearms and ammo by separating sales at gun and ammunition retailers.
In a statement released on Sunday, Visa, the largest payment network in the world, said it will “continue with next actions” while “ensuring we protect all legitimate business on the Visa network in compliance with our long-standing regulations.”
American Express has stated that it will deploy the code via its standard business procedures, which include coordinating with external processors and partners.
The business said in a statement on Sunday that it is “committed on ensuring that we have the proper controls in place to meet our regulatory and fiduciary responsibilities and to prevent illicit behavior on our network.”
Mastercard issued a statement on Saturday praising recent bipartisan efforts in Congress as a start toward “meaningfully” reducing gun violence. Mastercard has said that it would be focusing on the system’s implementation by merchants and their banks now that the ISO has authorized the new merchant category code.
In a statement, Mastercard reaffirmed its commitment to “supporting authorized purchases on our network while preserving the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders.” This is the same way we would handle the procedure at any other MCC that makes sense, like a bike shop or sporting goods store.
Prior to Friday’s judgment by the ISO, gun sales at retail establishments were categorized as either general commerce or sporting goods.
While merchant codes can identify the store where a credit card was used, they cannot reveal what was actually purchased. Opponents of the policy say it will unfairly monitor lawful gun sales.
A nationwide register of gun owners is “not about tracking or prevention or any noble goal,” the NRA stated on Sunday.
In 2018, the New York Times reported that some of the most deadly mass shootings in the United States, including those in Aurora, Colorado, San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, involved the use of electronic payments to purchase the firearms and ammunition used in the attacks.
The ISO was pushed to adopt the code by Amalgamated Bank and a few politicians, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Senator Elizabeth Warren. A representative from Amalgamated stated that the banking firm had submitted an application to the ISO for the code for the first time last summer.
In a news release on Friday, Amalgamated Bank President and CEO Priscilla Sims Brown claimed that the new rule will allow the bank to “completely comply with our duty to report suspicious behavior and unlawful gun purchases to authorities without delaying or slowing legal gun sales.”