The 24 AGs are critical of a decision by the payment processors like Visa, MasterCard and American Express to begin utilizing new Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for gun and ammo sales after they were set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) said the tracking violates the Second Amendment as well as customers’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy.
But far-left anti-gun groups and Democrats in states like New York have pressed the credit card companies to employ the four-digit code with the lie that tracking weapon sales will 'improve public safety.'
“The creation of a new code would help financial institutions detect and report suspicious activity, such as unusually large purchases of firearms or ammunition, or purchases from multiple stores, that may be used for criminal purposes,” a letter from New York officials to the card companies stated.
Earlier this week, the AGs sent a letter to American Express Company CEO Stephen J. Squeri, Mastercard Inc. CEO Michael Miebach, and Visa Inc. CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. strongly objecting to the use of the code.
“The new code will not protect public safety. Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike. First, efforts to track and monitor sales at gun stores would only result in vague and misleading information. This categorization would not recognize the difference, for example, between the purchase of a gun safe and a firearm. Nor would it capture firearm purchases made at department stores, resulting in arbitrarily disparate treatment of 'gun store' merchants and consumers," said the letter.
“More importantly, purposefully tracking this information can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate. Creating and tracking this data only matters if your institutions are considering using that information to take further, harmful action—like infringing upon consumer privacy, inhibiting constitutionally protected purchases by selectively restricting the use of your payment systems, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted 'disfavored' merchants," it added.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is the Republican nominee for retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt's seat, added: “The creation of a Merchant Category Code for sales at U.S. gun stores will not only not accomplish its intended goal, but is rife for misuse and abuse. Missourians value their Second Amendment rights and oppose any attempts to create a de-facto gun registry. I’m proud to stand up for those rights and will oppose this decision by the major credit card companies at every turn.”
Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis also issued a strong statement this week warning that if the companies proceed with their plans, they will face penalties.
“The second amendment is foundational to our American way of life,” Patronis said. “The idea that law-abiding Americans would be put on some kind of corporate watchlist is disturbing. Our rights come from our Creator, not the government, and especially not big corporations.
“It is clear that the actions by these credit card companies are part of a larger effort to curtail God-given constitutional rights of Americans. It is also symptomatic of the virus known as ESG, which is part of a global effort to socially re-engineer the country that we love so much. There is no way we are going to allow that to happen in the free state of Florida,” he continued.
“If we come to the legislative session and companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express are generating these reports to create a chilling effect against the purchase of firearms, then I’ll work with the Legislature to pass a law penalizing businesses who are targeting the right to bear arms,” Patronis continued. “We’ve seen a groundbreaking ruling come out of the Fifth Circuit limiting corporations’ ability to curtail American’s constitutional rights, so we are on solid legal footing to pursue a bill protecting Floridians 2nd Amendment Rights," noted Patronis.
“We can also take it a step further by barring these companies from doing any business with the State of Florida. We will send a message out to these large corporations that if you are interested in doing business with Florida, you need to make sure that you’re protecting Floridians’ right to arm and defend themselves,” he added.