State AGs question legality of coding gun, ammo purchases with letter to credit card companies

By Steve Wilson | The Center Square

A group of 21 state attorneys general have written a letter to the CEOs of three credit card companies that questions the legality of their decision to code transactions at gun stores differently than other purchases.

The letter came after three credit card companies – American Express, Visa and Mastercard – decided to adopt a special code for transactions at gun stores which were previously labeled as general merchandise, a move decried by the 21 attorneys general.

The attorneys general said that they’d “marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights.” They also said the decision to code the gun store transactions differently came after pressure from groups and elected officials who oppose gun rights and amounted to “transnational collusion” by the three credit card companies. The attorneys general also said the new code could have a chilling effect on the Second Amendment rights of buyers. 

In the letter, the attorneys general said the new code could be used for such purposes as “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.

The letter also says that the code will create a database of gun purchasers that could be leaked or hacked by those opposed to gun rights protected by the Second Amendment. 

Earlier this month, the International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group – which is the international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases – decided to create a separate code for transactions at gun stores. The move was hailed by pro-gun control groups and elected officials in several states, including New York. 

The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming and West Virginia.

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