Credit card

House Republicans demand answers as credit card companies are forced to track gun purchases

House Republicans are asking credit card giants if they support a plan to make it easier to track gun buyers.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., along with 100 other Republicans sent letters to the CEOs of Mastercard, American Express and Visa urging their stated support for creating individual codes identifying gun purchases. Members argue that the plan opens a back door to an unofficial gun registry in the country.

Representative Elise Stefanik led a group of Republicans in asking the credit card giants if they would support a plan to make it easier to track gun purchases. (Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

House members are concerned about a move by the Internal Standards Organization to create a Merchant Category Code (MCC) that would identify when someone uses a credit card to buy a gun.

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Moving comes later New York State Attorney General Letitia james said “credit card companies must now take the next step and report suspicious transactions on gun and ammunition sales” earlier this month.

“Of course, there is no accepted, consistent, scientific, or legitimate way to determine from this date what is and is not a ‘suspicious’ purchase,” the House members wrote. “A gun control advocate might view any desire to own or obtain a gun as suspect in itself. Instead, it is a transparent attempt to chill the exercise of protected rights. by the Constitution and circumvent existing legal restrictions on the creation of government gun registries.”

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Credit card CEOs rejected an attempt to create a gun-specific MCC last year, saying they “believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority in deciding what legal assets can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent”.

However, the CEOs appear to have changed their position after Amalgamated Bank applied for a new MCC in June 2022, according to the letter.