Guns Bought With Credit Cards Will Now Be Trackable in the US

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The NRA is currently slamming the credit card industry after it announced it will now be able to track gun purchases. They’re describing the plan as “creating a National Registry of gun owners.”  The National Rifle Association is deciding to push back against a decision from the International Standards Organization, also known as ISO, which has several rules across the financial services industry in order to create a new Merchant category code for all gun shops.  The decision comes after heavy pressure was put on credit card companies. This was after Democrats in Congress announced they were in favor of using the code.  According to CBS News, “Merchant category codes are four-digit codes that describe the retailer where a purchase is made, without detailing the specific item bought.”

“These codes allow credit-card issuers to track and restrict purchases — for instance, offering rewards credit cards that give bonus points for travel purchases or cash-back on grocery spending.”

Visa, Mastercard, Amex to Start Categorizing Gun Store Sales

Gun purchases were categorized as “ sporting goods stores”  or “ miscellaneous retail stores” Under the 4 digit merchant code that groups the businesses across all industries.

Several people who are for the new code are saying that this will help suspicious firearm sales and will heavily reduce crimes. But, the NRA is now questioning the purpose of a new code. They want to know the motive behind creating it. “The ISO’s 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,” NRA spokesman Lars Dalseide told CBS MoneyWatch. “This is not about tracking or prevention or any virtuous motivation — it’s about creating a national registry of gun owners.”

Still, several advocates say it could help police find suspicious purchasing patterns, and potentially stop mass shootings. American Express, Mastercard, and Visa stated that they plan on moving forward with tracking to categorize gun shop sales. Several high-end card providers, including Stripe, Square, and PayPal prohibit the purchase of any firearm.

John Feinblatt, Everytown for Gun Safety President, applauded the decision to track purchases. “Today’s announcement is a critical first step towards giving banks and credit card companies the tools they need to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing trends – like a domestic extremist building up an arsenal – and report them to law enforcement,” he stated.

New York mayor Eric Adams is also in favor of the new guidelines. He is heavily urging all credit card companies to adopt a merchant code for all gun stores. 

“When you buy an airline ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores.”

According to WION News, back in 2020 more than 300,000 unlawful gun transactions were prevented. This is thanks to background checks conducted by the FBI.  This is almost twice as many as it was in 2019. Gun cells then dramatically increased the following year due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to reports, there were 20 million illegal gun purchases in 2020. This is up from the 12.4 million in 2019. 

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