Tennessee, Montana AGs lead effort questioning credit card CEOs about tracking gun purchases

Two dozen state attorney general sent letter to CEO major credit card companies Warning them about the legality of implementing a new code identifying purchases made at gun stores.

led by Tennessee and Montana, the attorney general explained to the leaders of Visa, MasterCard and American Express that Unique Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) that allow single transactions at gun stores may violate state consumer protection laws.

FILE – Convention attendees look at the firearms displayed at the Sig Sauer booth at the 2016 National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images) / Getty Images

“Accordingly, we share our concerns and ask that you take immediate action to comply with our consumer protection laws and respect the constitutional rights of all Americans,” the attorney general wrote. “The new code will not protect public safety. constitutionally protected rights Buying firearms the wrong way separates law-abiding merchants and consumers alike.”

House Republicans Seek Answers as Credit Card Companies Pressured to Track Gun Purchases

If credit card companies start using gun store-specific codes for purchases, the attorney general said they are concerned it will create an unofficial “gun buyers list” — and they may leaking personal information, The state’s AG also argues that the code will “only result in vague and misleading information” as it would fail to differentiate the types of purchases made at a store.

“Deliberately tracking this information could result in its misuse, either unintentionally or intentionally,” he wrote. “Creating and tracking this data only matters if your institutions are considering using that information to take further, harmful action – such as infringing consumer privacy, selectively blocking your use of payment systems Prevent purchases that are constitutionally protected by restricting, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted “preferred” merchants.”

customer in gun shop

Customers wait at a store on Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Orem, Utah, US. Two mass shootings in a week is giving Democrats new urgency to pass gun control legislation, but Republican opposition in the Senate remains the biggest obstacle. (Getty Images / Getty Images)

Tuesday’s letter follows a letter House Republican The same CEO was sent last week expressing similar concerns.

Credit card companies initially resisted going with the International Organization for Standardization’s plan to create gunstore-specific codes, rejecting a similar plan last year, saying they believe payment networks is said to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods may or may not be purchased, setting a dangerous precedent.”

montana attorney general Knudsen told the credit card companies about them when they declined the plan.

“It is extremely disappointing to see credit card companies under pressure from international bodies and adopting a measure that will do nothing to improve public safety,” Knudsen said in a statement. “Instead, it invites potential future invasions of consumer privacy and coordination between corporations and government agencies to eliminate Americans’ fundamental right to bear and bear arms.”

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., right, listens as Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.VA, during a Senate Environment and Public Works hearing, Shailene P. Speaks as administrator of the federal to investigate Bhatt’s nomination. for highway administration (AP photo/Mariam Zuhaib/Fox News)

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In a separate letter on Thursday, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W VA, asked the credit card company’s CEOs to reconsider their support for the MCC change and urged them to answer a number of questions if they decided to implement the changes. .

Capito wrote, “The implementation of the new Merchant Code for the purchase of firearms is a worrying signal to legal sellers and buyers of firearms that their purchases may be monitored, disclosed or even prevented from occurring.” could.” “This signals serious constitutional concerns, and sets a disturbing precedent in which gun owners may be hindered in their free exercise of constitutional rights for fear of retaliation, or even their privacy.” Visa, MasterCard and American Express are under no legal obligation to implement this new MCC and I urge you to change course immediately.”

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