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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Republican senators and states oppose gun-store MCC

State Issues Credit Cards U.S. Senate State Attorney General Federal Issues

State Issues

On September 20, twenty-four state attorneys general sent a letter to the CEOs of three credit card companies opposing the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) recommendation to create a merchant category code (MCC) for gun stores to use when processing credit and debit card transactions. According to the AGs, the MCC “will not protect public safety,” and tracking gun purchase information “can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate.” The AGs also expressed their concern “that financial institutions that place their desired public policy outcomes ahead of the well-being of their investors do so in derogation of their fiduciary obligations.”

The same week, in a separate letter, twelve Republican U.S. Senators sent a letter to the CEOs also requesting the reversal of their decision to comply with the ISO standard to create a separate MCC for the sale of firearms in the U.S. According to the letter, the CEOs “are choosing the side of gun control advocates over the privacy and Second Amendment rights of millions of law abiding Americans,” and consider the decision to comply with the MCC “the first step towards backdoor gun control on law abiding Americans.” The Senators asked the CEOs to respond to a series of ISO-related questions.

As previously covered by InfoBytes, on September 2, the California and New York AGs sent a letter to the CEOs asking for the establishment of a unique MCC for gun store purchases, writing that a specially-designated MCC would help companies flag suspicious activity. The letter followed recent requests sent by several congressional Democrats to the same companies urging them to establish an MCC code for guns.