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Three House Republicans submit proposal to ban tracking firearms through purchases

Bill would restrict use of a merchant category code to track transactions for firearms and ammunition sales.

Published: February 25, 2024 10:57pm

(The Center Square) -

Restricting use of a merchant category code to track transactions for firearms and ammunition sales has been proposed by House Republicans Elise Stefanik of New York, Richard Hudson of North Carolina and Andy Barr of Kentucky.

The implementation of the MCC, as it is commonly known, happened in September 2022 by the International Organization for Standardization. Visa, Mastercard and American Express paused the implementation, and Hudson said he’s questioned it from the outset.

A release from Hudson says the proposal would “preempt California’s newest attempt to single out and surveil law-abiding firearm and ammunition owners.” News broke last week that American Express, Visa and Mastercard would go forward and track gun store purchases in the state.

In a release, Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Federation senior vice president and general counsel for the Firearm Industry Trade Association, said, “The Biden administration has already proven they cannot be trusted to respect the private firearm transactions of law-abiding citizens. Without a warrant, federal agencies collected financial information on private firearm and ammunition transactions to create an illegal government watchlist of gun owners. Representative Elise Stefanik’s legislation would rein in federal overreach to use the private financial transactions of law-abiding citizens against them for political means.”

Stefanik said such tracking is a violation of constitutional rights.

She said in a release, “I share the concern of law-abiding gun owners across our nation that have voiced their fear that such tactics will work to serve the radical Left’s anti-gun agenda. I will always stand up for our Second Amendment rights as Americans and provide a critical check to any entity attempting to encroach on our liberties.”

Hudson said, “Gun grabbing liberals will stop at nothing to take away your Second Amendment rights. This is unacceptable, dangerous, and a first step to gun confiscation.”

Barr said the privacy of purchases is not negotiable. Randy Kozuch, interim executive director of the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the NRA, said the merchant category code for firearms retailers “is nothing more than a scheme to surveil law-abiding gun owners.”

Amalgamated Bank made the request to set up the code. At the time, New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to the three major credit card companies urging them to support the move. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, running for election that fall, gave her support as well.

Twenty-one state attorneys general responded with a letter to the credit card companies’ leaders requesting they not support the MCC.

Montana, in 2023, banned the practice.

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