Visa, Mastercard, and American Express unveiled intentions this week to target customers' gun store transactions.
Using a new four-digit merchant category number, credit card firms will differentiate gun ammunition sales from other buying. Credit card firms will report suspicious transactions to law enforcement.
Visa, Mastercard, and AmEx accepted the revised rules on Saturday after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) authorized the move on Friday.
The ISO's decision came at the behest of anti-gun activists and Democrat lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who demanded financial CEOs be their eyes and ears for "suspicious activities including straw purchases and unlawful bulk purchases that could be used in domestic terrorist acts or gun trafficking schemes."
“Mass shooters have repeatedly financed deadly massacres using credit cards," Warren wrote. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express can help law enforcement prevent mass shootings by flagging suspect gun sales with this new code.
Amalgamated Bank President and CEO Priscilla Sims Brown suggested financial institutions monitor the gun industry using merchant category codes before Democrats pressured credit card firms. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express recommended against her initial ISO request in June 2021. Since Amalgamated Bank, the largest union-owned bank in the U.S., works closely with the ISO, it was no surprise that, after Brown's push to make credit companies the Big Brother of gun sales was amplified by corporate media in June 2022, the ISO adopted the new recommendations less than three months later.
Academic research suggests that disrupting the sale of illegal goods through Mastercard, Visa, and their partner banks is more effective than legal action. That's because Visa and Mastercard can "punish banks" for doing business with illegal or problematic entities.
Even Democrats outside of Congress, like New York Attorney General Letitia James, celebrated involving credit card firms as a "major success"
Gun rights groups, including the NRA, criticized credit card giants for succumbing to Democrats' and banks' attempts to regulate law-abiding gun vendors and customers using corporate America.
The ISO's decision to adopt a firearm-specific code is a capitulation to anti-gun lawmakers and campaigners, an NRA official said. This is about building a national register of gun owners, not tracking or prevention.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on THE FEDERALIST.