U.S. Senator Introduces Measure To Protect Credit Card Gun Purchasers

by Vern Evans
Firearm Purchase, Buying a Gun

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We’ve reported in recent months how several states are considering or have passed legislation forbidding credit card companies from using a special Merchant Category Code (MCC) for gun purchases that would basically create a registry of guns bought by Americans. Now, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee has introduced federal legislation along the same lines.

On April 9, Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty’s bill, S 4075, the Protecting Privacy In Purchasing Act, would ban the use of a firearm retailer-specific MCC nationwide.

“Merchant category codes should never be used to track and surveil gun store customers,” Sen. Hagerty said in a press release announcing the legislation. “If this alarming overreach isn’t stopped here, radical leftists won’t just target gun owners—they’ll weaponize the financial system against anyone who makes a purchase that doesn’t conform to their agenda. This bill is critical to preventing the politicization of MCC codes and securing the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans.”

At issue is a new MCC for gun purchases adopted by the International Organization for Standardization a little over a year ago. MCCs are used by payment processors (like Visa and Mastercard) and other financial services companies to categorize transactions.

Prior to the creation of the specific code for guns, firearms retailers fell under the MCC for sporting goods stores or miscellaneous retail. If the new code is used, credit card companies and other payment processors can tell the purchases were firearms, which is none of their—or anyone else’s—business.

Sen. Hagerty’s measure was heartily welcomed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry.

“The Biden administration has already admitted that it unlawfully used the private firearm purchase data of law-abiding citizens to label them as potential domestic terrorists in a politically-driven gun control scheme,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “Senator Bill Hagerty’s legislation would protect the private financial data of citizens exercising their Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.”

According to Keane, passage of the legislation would ensure that gun purchasers don’t land on the government’s radar simply for practicing a fundamental right.

“No American should be concerned that the federal government is employing this scheme, concocted by gun control cheerleaders, that weaponizes an individual’s finances and their free exercise of Second Amendment rights to wrongly identify them as a criminal-in-waiting,” Keane added. “NSSF thanks Sen. Hagerty for his principled leadership to stand up for Second Amendment rights and against special interests and big government lawmakers whose goal it is to monitor and deny lawful transactions by law-abiding Americans. Americans should worry about what’s in their wallet, not who’s in their wallet peeking in to see what they are legally buying when exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

Sen. Hagerty’s new measure is a companion bill to HR 7450, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York), Rep. Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-North Carolina).

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