Democratic Lawmakers Push Payment Firms to Implement Gun Sales Code

         

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and 48 other Democratic lawmakers urge top payments companies to implement a sales code for gun merchants, citing conflicting state requirements.

Democratic Lawmakers’ Efforts

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and 48 other Democratic lawmakers are urging major payments companies, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover Financial, to resume work on implementing a sales code for gun merchants. The lawmakers highlight the conflicting state-level requirements on this issue as the driving force behind their appeal.

Payment Companies’ Delay

In March, the payments companies, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover Financial, announced a delay in rolling out a ‘merchant category code’ (MCC) designed to identify suspicious firearms and ammunition sales. The delay was attributed to the passage of legislation in Republican-led states aiming to limit the use of these codes, creating legal inconsistencies.

Pushback and Advocacy

Opponents of the codes are concerned about potential misuse for tracking consumer behavior. While seven states have passed laws prohibiting the use of the four-digit code, California, the most populous state, required its use in September. The Democratic lawmakers emphasized the need for the payments companies to implement the code in states where it is still legal.

Lawmakers’ Requests

In the letters sent to the four payments companies, Warren and the co-signatories emphasized the lack of legal or technical reasoning for not implementing the code where it is legally permissible. The letters also included a series of questions regarding the companies’ progress on the MCC and referenced the increasing number of mass shootings in the U.S., including over 600 incidents in 2023 alone.

Industry Response

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) expressed its hope for federal legislation to safeguard the financial privacy of individuals making lawful firearm purchases with credit cards. However, representatives for the payments companies declined to comment on the matter.

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