Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today led 100 of her colleagues in demanding answers from credit card companies Visa, American Express, and Mastercard over their implementation of a classification of gun sales to ensure this is not used to track law-abiding gun owners or infringe on their Constitutional rights.
“I am adamantly opposed to this attempt to track the information of law-abiding gun owners and am calling out this attempt to infringe on our Constitutional, Second Amendment rights,” Stefanik said. “As Far Left gun grabbing politicians seek to further erode our Constitution, I’m working to ensure credit card companies are not aiding in their anti-Second Amendment agenda. I am demanding immediate answers to protect American citizens’ ability to exercise their Constitutional right to bear arms without fear that the Far Left is tracking their information or that this information will be used against them. In the face of the unconstitutional anti-gun agenda, I will always stand up for New Yorkers and all Americans’ rights.”
In the letter, Stefanik points out that previous attempts to create firearm-specific codes have been denied, even on appeal, and warnings suggest a new code would unduly burden smaller firearm retailers. As credit card companies implement these codes, Stefanik requested answers to multiple questions, including whether Amex, MasterCard, and Visa support lawful purchases and protect the privacy and legal decisions of their consumers in regard to this implementation.
"The ISO recently announced its unfortunate decision to create a firearm-specific code in apparent submission to the desires of liberal activists and politicians who seek to erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "Amalgamated Bank stated its intent to utilize software to flag allegedly suspicious purchases made by Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights and file these red flags with law enforcement. This sentiment mirrors public statements from a myriad of liberal politicians who see this action as a first step towards further infringing on law-abiding United States citizens utilizing their Constitutional right to bear arms."
Stefanik also pointed out that Visa said that they “believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent.”
“The NRA applauds Congresswoman Stefanik for taking the lead on this vital issue. She has correctly identified this decision as a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and gun control activists who are determined to create a national gun owner registry and stifle lawful firearm purchases under the guise of reducing violent crime," said Jason Ouimet, Executive Director, NRA-ILA.
“The creation of a special Merchant Category Code for firearm retailers is deeply troubling. It will violate the privacy and Second Amendment rights of gun owners as banks and payment processors block retail sales as ‘suspicious transactions’- a subjective and undefined term. This is corporate gun control. The ‘woke’ Democrat-affiliated bank behind this proposal is doing the bidding of antigun special interest groups," said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President , NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association.
This letter follows New York Attorney General Letita James stating that, “Credit card companies must now take the next step and flag suspiciously transactions on gun and ammunition sales” and NYC Mayor Eric Adams also making the case for credit card companies creating a weapon code for firearm purchases.
Read Stefanik’s full letter here.