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Gun, Ammunition Credit Card Purchases to be Tracked With Special Code


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“The international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases has given its approval to establish one for transactions made at gun stores,” The Center Square reports.

The International Organization on Standardization’s (ISO) Registration and Maintenance Management Group met on Wednesday to discuss setting up such a code.

“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,” it claimed.

According to the news release, “credit card companies use a four-digit merchant category code to classify businesses by the types of goods and services sold. Merchant category codes are set by the International Organization on Standardization (ISO). Unique merchant category codes exist for grocery stores, sporting goods stores, bicycle shops, and many other retailers — but not for gun and ammunition stores.”

By voting to create a “merchant category code” for gun purchases, this allows banks that process payments from gun retailers to assign the new code to the gun stores.

From The Center Square:

An ISO spokesperson told The Center Square that RMMG members could not decide whether to approve the application. That elevated the discussion to the ISO leadership that oversees standards for retail financial services.

“Considering the application met all the criteria from ISO 18245 and no material arguments pertaining to the approval criteria outlined in the ISO 18245 standard to reject the code were made, SC9 leadership has approved this MCC application in order to comply with the standard,” the ISO said in a statement provided by Maria Lazarte, the organization’s team leader for media and engagement.

That decision came less than a week after New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to chief executives at American Express, Mastercard and Visa, urging them to support a merchant category code. They were joined on Wednesday morning by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who tweeted in support of an MCC.

In a statement late Friday afternoon, James celebrated the ruling, saying it will prevent tragedies.

“Labeling gun and ammunition sales is a responsible, common-sense way to help protect Americans, and I thank Amalgamated Bank for their bold leadership on this critical issue,” James said. “I urge credit card companies to take the next step and flag suspicious transactions on gun and ammunition sales, like they do for fraud and money laundering.”

Opponents of the measure included the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

In a statement to The Center Square, Mark Oliva, the organization’s managing director for public affairs, slammed the move, saying the creation of the code was “flawed on its premise. Those who believe it will help law enforcement do not provide details on what should be considered suspicious purchases.”

Robby Starbuck issued a warning on Twitter about the new special code.



 

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