By Joseph Lord
More than 100 Republicans in a letter expressed concern over the decision of several credit card giants to establish a new specific merchant code for firearms dealers, calling the effort “an assault on the Second Amendment.”
Earlier this month, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a Switzerland-based group that sets and monitors quality standards for industries of all types, confirmed that one of its subcommittees had voted to establish a new merchant category code (MCC) for firearms, which previously fell into the “general merchandise” category.
Following the decision by the influential body Visa, one of the largest debit and credit card companies, adopted the change.
“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules,” Visa said in a statement.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) denounced the change at the time, calling it an erosion of Second Amendment rights.
“The decision to create a firearm-specific code is nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans, one transaction at a time,” an NRA spokesperson said.
Now, a coalition of more than 100 Republicans led by House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (D-N.Y.) are demanding answers from Visa over the move in a letter addressed to Visa CEO Alfred Kelly (pdf). The Republican signatories echoed the NRA’s condemnation of the move as anti-Second Amendment.
“We write you today with grave concern regarding your implementation of a new firearm-specific Merchant Category Code (MCC),” the letter opened. “This implementation follows an equally concerning decision by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create this MCC, which is an assault on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens.”
In the letter, Stefanik noted that two MCC codes already existed to catalog legal firearms sales, including one code for miscellaneous retail stores and another for sporting goods stores.
The push for the creation of a new firearm-specific MCC was led by Amalgamated Bank, which portrays itself as “America’s socially responsible bank.”
The bank, founded originally by trade union workers over a century ago, explained that the push for the creation of a new firearm retailer MCC code was “the result of nearly three years of research and partnership with issue experts at Guns Down America and Giffords Law Center and broad support from elected officials, pension funds, and others across the United States.”
Initially, Amalgamated Bank’s request for the creation of the new MCC had been denied by ISO in July 2021. After two appeals in October and November 2021, ISO still refused to allow the adoption of the new MCC.
ISO argued at the time that the new code would fail to capture firearms sales at sporting goods stores while placing an undue burden on smaller firearm retailers.
However, after continuing to push for the change, Amalgamated Bank was ultimately successful, with its push culminating in first ISO’s adoption of the code and then Visa’s.
Reportedly, the three largest card providers—Visa, American Express, and MasterCard—had been opposed to the scheme. In one statement cited by Stefanik in her letter, Visa argued that “asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent.”
“We could not agree more,” Stefanik wrote.
ISO’s decision to finally yield to pressure from Amalgamated Bank, Stefanik continued, was an “apparent submission to the desires of liberal activists and politicians who seek to erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens.”
MCC Could Trigger Red Flag Petitions
Of great concern to Stefanik and her colleagues is the potential for Amalgamated Bank and others, through algorithmic software, to flag purchases deemed “suspicious” and carry out red flag law petitions to have the purchaser’s firearms temporarily seized by the state. Red flag laws, which exist in several states across the United States, have long been criticized by conservatives and Second Amendment advocated for violating due process.
The move to flag gun sales, Stefanik wrote, “mirrors public statements from a myriad of liberal politicians who see this action as a first step towards further infringing on law-abiding United States citizens utilizing their Constitutional right to bear arms.”
“Especially concerning,” she added, “was New York Attorney General Letitia James’ statement that, ‘Credit card companies must now take the next step and flag suspicious transactions on gun and ammunition sales.’”
Concluding the letter, Stefanik and her colleagues argued that “there is no accepted, consistent, scientific, or legitimate way to determine from this data what is and what is not a ‘suspicious’ purchase. A gun control advocate could view any desire to own or obtain a firearm as per se suspicious.
“Instead,” she argued, “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.”
Stefanik and her colleague closed the letter with a series of questions for Visa’s CEO.
Among these, Stefanik asked if Visa still opposes the new MCC as past statements indicate, as well as what specific standards and methods Visa will use to determine which purchases are and are not specific.
She also asked for Visa to explain how they would inform their customers of these changes, and whether customers would be informed if Visa sent their information to law enforcement for further action.
Stefanik also noted that “federal law contains multiple restrictions on the creation of a national firearm registry.” Visa’s move, she argued, “could be perceived as a bad faith attempt to circumvent those restrictions.”
Bill Pan and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.
Affiliate News Feeds
- Washington Examiner
- The Federalist
- The Epoch Times
- The Guardian
- The Gateway Pundit
CHANTILLY, Virginia — A group of roughly 70 students at Chantilly High School in northern Virginia marched out of class and off school grounds without adult supervision to protest Republican… [...]
President Joe Biden's plan to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt is facing its first serious legal challenge alleging it violates federal law and the Constitution,… [...]
As inflation weighs on the public, 71% of workers claimed their salary and wage growth is being outpaced by a rise in the cost of living. [...]
Historical setbacks and the proliferation of broken homes hurt black Americans, but there’s also something else: Marxism. [...]
A woman’s death in Iran has sparked mass protests but little response from the Biden administration or ‘the squad’ of congresswomen. [...]
Ryan Busse claims to be a gun industry insider, but he has no interest in advocating for America's hunters and riflemen. [...]
A measure that would reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and make it harder for members of Congress to object to or decertify presidential election results has advanced in the… [...]
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday highlighted the declining state of the economy under President Joe Biden and said he does not believe the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is… [...]
A federal appeals court in Manhattan handed former President Donald Trump a procedural victory Tuesday in a defamation lawsuit, after famed columnist E. Jean Carroll claimed that Trump had raped… [...]
Bank’s emergency move brings relief to bond market, but fails to stabilise UK currencyOver here, chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is due to meet bankers again today in an effort to calm… [...]
Threadneedle Street will buy UK government bonds as pound continues to tumble in response to Truss and Kwarteng’s mini-budgetBusiness news today – live updatesThe Bank of England has intervened in… [...]
Will PM and chancellor ignore advice under mounting pressure, which is also coming from US and Germany?IMF urges UK government to reconsider tax-cutting plansLiz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have taken… [...]
The night before the line was damaged, thousands of people in Gera in Germany marched against Socialist Olaf Scholz’s policy and the explosion of energy and gas prices in Germany. … [...]
President Trump said Senator Joe Manchin is “off the rails” and “who the hell can blame him?” in a recent post on Truth Social. Manchin agreed on Tuesday to drop… [...]