Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) is urging credit card companies to not identify gun purchases with a new merchant category code.
An international standards organization issued the merchant code identifying guns and ammo sales after New York’s Amalgamated Bank requested it.
Fox News further reported:
In a letter obtained exclusively by FOX Business, the Republican lawmakers argue that compliance with the merchant code could open a backdoor gun control registry impacting law-abiding firearm owners.
“This decision, which is already being hailed by radical anti-gun activists, is the first step towards backdoor gun control on law abiding Americans,” the senators wrote to the CEOs. “Any change that seeks to impact a United States citizen’s ability to legally purchase a firearm belongs with Congress, not payment networks, international standard setting organizations, or the financial institutions that some of you serve.”
Merchant category codes are not exclusive to gun store sales, as the codes exist for nearly every type of purchase, including those at supermarkets, clothing stores, coffee shops and other retailers.
But the codes only label the type of merchant where the credit or debit card is used, not the specific items. This means an item like a gun safe, for example, could be flagged as a large purchase at a gun store since one can be purchased for thousands of dollars.
“Due to the nature of the information collected from merchants when processing a transaction, you will have no ability to know what is being purchased; as such, the purported benefits for detecting suspicious purchases falls flat on face value,” the Republicans wrote. “Given that, it is clear that these changes are being pushed for much more nefarious reasons, and is likely only step one with calls for declining to process gun sales altogether coming in the near future.”
According to the letter, the ISO is a voluntary organization that cannot unilaterally prescribe the way in which business is carried out.
“To be perfectly clear, your hand is not being forced,” the lawmakers wrote. “Creating a new merchant code for gun transactions is a choice being made by each of your companies. You are choosing the side of gun control advocates over the 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 fought at the ballot box and in Congress – and in doing so you are making clear that you are more than unbiased network operators seeking to maximize value for your customers and shareholders. You have become antigun activists yourselves, wittingly or not,” they continued.
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