Credit card giants Visa, Mastercard, and American Express announced in early September they are adopting a new merchant code, AFN reported. That same story, from The Associated Press, said a group of 20 attorneys general urged the companies in a letter to drop the plan that “unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike.”
The credit card companies defended the plan because it was recommended by the International Organization for Standardization, a group that has been helping companies agree on terms and standards since the 1940s.
The new categorization and coding took effect September 9.
Mike Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, tells AFN the credit card companies are knowingly creating “de facto gun registration” by flagging gun purchases and ammunition purchases at gun stores.
In the AP story, the wire service downplayed the special coding because it is similar to coding for airline tickets, restaurants, and department stores, but the story also said “gun control advocates” are demanding the special coding because it can be used to “flag” sales purchases that appear “suspicious” to law enforcement authorities.
The AP story did not explain how those law enforcement officials will know, for example, if a customer purchased two AR-15 rifles and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
The AP story also did no define what law enforcement authorities consider a “suspicious” purchase. But it did say anti-gun advocates cite the example of Pulse Nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, who reportedly purchased $26,000 of ammunition before the 2016 massacre. It was later learned Mateen carried out that massacre, which killed 49 people, after the FBI ignored numerous warnings about his terrorist threats going back to 2013.
A gun store employee, however, became suspicious of him weeks before the massacre and called authorities, CNN reported at the time.
Follow the money to pension plans
According to an NPR story about the new gun shop coding, the credit card companies were pressured to take action by left-wing groups that own major shares. Three separate public retirement pension groups in New York City own shares at American Express, MasterCard, and Visa that total a whopping $803.9 million in value.
In California, NPR said, its state teachers’ union singled out guns four years ago and demanded retailers “monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement.”
That teachers’ union holds the second largest pension fund in the country, the story said.
In a statement, Gun Owners spokesman Erich Pratt warned the issue is not about public safety but a “dark path” where legally purchased guns and ammunition are flagged for authorities to review.
“Make no mistake,” he said, “if the credit card companies were willing to so quicky cave on this demand, the mob will only demand more.”