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Credit Card Companies Cave; Gun Grabbers Galled



Image courtesy NSSF

Credit Card Companies ‘Paused’ Firearm Retail-Specific Merchant Category Code. Suddenly, Gun Control Advocates Can’t Live Without Them. Here’s Why.

A few weeks ago, our sister site Guns & Gadgets Daily reported on some disturbing news about Discover. The company had agreed to implement a new merchant category code that would essentially create a non-governmental gun registry. After a tremendous hue and cry–go ahead and pat yourselves on the back–Discover caved. Now, gun-grabbers are absolutely livid, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that they had indeed pinned all their confiscatory fantasies on this scheme. (Gosh, isn’t it weird how suddenly these people are so supportive of huge, multinational capitalist corporations?) Our friends at the National Shooting Sports Foundation have the evidence … not to mention a number of highly quotable quotes for you to use the next time these same people open their mouths to denounce large businesses. Take it away, Mark Oliva!


There’s no bigger proof that the Merchant Category Code (MCC) specific to firearm retailers is really a bad idea than those losing their minds now that major credit card companies announced they won’t put it into practice.

U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Department of Justice and Treasury Department to publish “any policy advisory, enforcement guidance and other materials needed by financial institutions retailers and law enforcement as the new code is implemented for gun an ammunition stores.” That was followed by a letter from 14 state attorneys general, led by New Jersey Democrat AG Matthew Platkin, to the CEOs of the major credit card companies telling them they see “no justifiable reason” to pause implementation of the tracking code.

The attorneys general accused the credit card companies of buckling to political pressure, only to add their own veiled threats if they don’t go along with their gun control scheme.

“Should you fail to do so, your complicity with ongoing needless gun tragedies will lead us to consider further actions,” the attorneys general letter states.

How We Got Here

The MCC is the brainchild of Amalgamated Bank’s CEO Priscilla Sims Brown and The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, all backed by Giffords gun control group. Amalgamated Bank has been called “The Left’s Private Banker,” hosting accounts for Political Action Committees for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic National Committee. The notion of having credit card companies track firearm purchases caught the attention of antigun lawmakers in state capitols and on Capitol Hill.

A specific code for purchases at firearm retail is fraught with Constitutional concerns. First among them is the fact that those who designed this code publicly announced that this specific code is “just the beginning.” The way it is currently structured, the code would track undefined “suspicious purchases” at firearm retailers, but wouldn’t delve “into the basket” to see what individuals actually purchased. That means the credit card companies would only see total amounts, not individual items. That means purchases for sleeping bags, tents, waders and decoys would be under the same scrutiny as firearms and ammunition.


That presents serious concerns that these codes could be abused to create a back-door firearm registry. Since the federal government is barred from creating a national firearm registry, these antigun senators and attorneys general would lean on the credit card companies to do that work for them. That would put anyone making a purchase at a firearm retailer on a watchlist – even if they didn’t actually purchase a firearm and ammunition.

It wouldn’t end there, though. The “just the beginning” admonition can’t be interpreted any other way other than next steps would include scrutiny of examining what is in the shopper’s basket. Sorkin’s original goal was to deny firearm and ammunition purchases with credit cards altogether, but a much more nefarious scheme would be in the offing. The credit cards could be forced by political special interests to divulge personal information to government authorities. That’s more than chilling Constitutional rights. It is outright intrusion.

This also raises considerable privacy concerns. Firearm owners are rightly wary of their inclusion on any list. As demonstrated, law enforcement authorities in New York and California negligently “leaked” information of concealed carry permit holders to the public. That information now is available to would-be criminals and makes those firearm owners targets for potential crime against them and their household.

State Roadblocks

There is no statutory requirement for credit card companies to track purchases made at firearm retailers. The code is a voluntary measure that was approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It’s not a requirement for credit card companies to implement it. In fact, several states are on the verge of enacting legislation that would specifically prohibit the use of a unique MCC for purchases at a firearm retailer, including West VirginiaMississippi and Florida.

That is the reason the major credit card companies “paused” their MCC implementation plans. Different states would have differing laws pertaining to their use and would sow confusion and uneven application of policies. Despite what these antigun lawmakers and law enforcement officials claim, financial institutions are already required to report suspicious activities that are potential violations of law.

Adding in millions-upon-millions of lawful transactions at firearm retailers doesn’t make communities safer. Even VISA CEO Al Kelly said the codes wouldn’t work as Amalgamated Bank and other gun control advocates wished. “If [Visa’s Chief Communications Officer] K.C. Kavanagh goes into a gun store and buys three thermoses and a tent, and you go in and buy a rifle and five rounds of ammunition, all I know is you both went to the same gun store… But I don’t know what you bought.”

Dumping hundreds of millions of purchase records creates a bigger haystack in which law enforcement must search through to find the proverbial needle.

It all begs the question of why these gun control-supporting politicians and attorneys general are now demanding that credit card companies institute these codes. The answer is simple. They’re being denied the ability to create a national firearm registry that they could exploit to quash lawful firearm ownership in America.

The firearm retailer-specific MCC was never about controlling crime. It has always been about controlling you.



  1. William G Munson

    March 27, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    Credit Card have no business saying what we buy with our money Period

    • Kirk

      March 27, 2023 at 1:30 pm

      Yes they do because technically until you pay that bill in full it’s their money.

      If you still feel that way you’re always free to cut that card up

    • William G Munson

      March 28, 2023 at 9:32 am

      Should not these that Swore to uphold the Constitution be held for Infringement Rights of We the People Period

  2. Holesnipe

    March 24, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    The operative word here is “paused”. It WILL come forward again for implementation.

  3. JonsOn

    March 24, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    After seeing this does anyone think that the people who want to end guns are nothing more than douche bag control freaks in love with regimes like Hitler’s, Stalin’s and Castro’s? These codes will not save one life, not stop one murder or stop one suicide. So what’s their excuse this time? There seems to be 3 types of people who want to ban guns. 1. The naive person who thinks that removing all guns will stop firearm violence. 2. The idiot who is just going along with gun control because their friends are. 3. The Marxist who knows that he he/she doesn’t get rid of all guns they may well be shot when the populace finds out what their real intentions are. In the last case the only safety they want is their own. Whichever category a person is in they are all dangerous to our freedom and way of life.

    • Don

      March 27, 2023 at 6:01 pm

      Totally Agree!!!

  4. GomeznSA

    March 23, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Perhaps I am over simplifying it but IMHO credit card companies are providing a convenient way for customers to purchase goods and services. It is really none of their business what the customer uses the card for and in particular they should NOT be acting as spies for the government. As long as the customer pays them off that should be their only concern. After all, they are making money on both ends due to upfront fees charged to the merchants (passed on to the customer) and of course the exorbitant interest they charge.

  5. stewyATX

    March 23, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    i know im not the only one that considered NOT USING any credit cards for online purchases of ANY ITEMS from any business that could be considered even remotely “tactical”. the credit card companies MUST have noticed this since represents untold millions of dollars from the the more astute 2A community that they would no longer be collecting precious interest on. this had to have played a factor in this decision. not only is it anti-american, its simply bad for business….

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