Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown
Screenshot courtesy New York Times
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A New York Times conference featured a bank CEO pushing the financial industry to track Americans making purchases at retailers and monitor their “suspicious activity” under the guise of “reducing gun violence.”

Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown was the special guest at the Times’ DealBook confab and was interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin. He’s the Times’ columnist who previously proposed the gun buying monitoring scheme and spelled out the “next steps” in a column highlighting Sims Brown’s efforts after an international financial standards board adopted her petition to create the tracking codes.

Putting even a little thought into the idea reveals the serious flaws of the plan. Implementing the enormous system required to track private financial transactions will create a myriad of privacy and civil liberty concerns and is ripe for potential abuse.

Gun Control Dragnet

Sims Brown lobbied the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create a gun-related Merchant Category Code (MCC) for credit and debit card companies to use to track cardholders’ purchases of firearms and ammunition. The ISO adopted the proposal and banks are beginning to use them. Listening to Sims Brown forecast what’s ahead also revealed her true gun control aim. It’s a dragnet for law-abiding Americans.

“We’re at the very early stages of this –,” Sims Brown told Sorkin and the audience. “But as this is implemented, those scenarios will be used.”

By “those scenarios,” she means “detection scenarios” in which a particular purchase prompts a bank to file a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Here’s how the MCC tracking will reportedly work.

government spy big brother stasi cia
(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Purchases made at retailers selling firearms or ammunition would be assigned the new code for purchases. The MCC won’t identify what is in the customer’s basket, so it could be a purchase for a firearm and a few boxes of ammunition. The charge could also include a new tent, sleeping bag, propane stove, waders, decoys, blinds and other outdoor gear. The total amount of the transaction could be flagged as “suspicious” since it might be an outlier on a customer’s purchase history. That doesn’t make it nefarious, though.

The media have reported the proposal won’t have its intended effect. “The payment network and its banking partners would have no idea if a gun-store customer is purchasing an automatic rifle or safety equipment,” Bloomberg News reported. Banks aren’t saying what purchases would be considered “suspicious.”

Just a Stepping Stone

The MCC scheme has caught the attention of Congressional gun control politicians. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 5764, by Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) and in the U.S. Senate, S. 3117, by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). That legislation, The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, would provide banking institutions the cover they need to track purchases by requiring the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to provide “guidance” needed to institute the MCC tracking.

“Financial institutions have a legal obligation… to have programs in place to help detect and report suspicious activity, but they have to know what they are looking for,” Rep. Wexton said.

Rep. Dean has praised the backdoor gun control effort, too. “Financial institutions already have proven systems in place to identify suspicious behavior and purchasing patterns,” she wrote in a release.

Still no one has offered what “suspicious behavior” or “purchasing patterns” would be flagged. The questions are endless, the answers few, and the threat to Constitutional rights high.

Trudging Ahead, Trampling Rights

Sorkin likes to hype his work in getting the MCC code established. He told the Dealbook audience, “This is an emotional topic for me in many ways… because back in 2018 I started writing about the role of guns in our society… and the role of credit card companies and banks in financing mass shootings.”

Sorkin stated his belief that lawful firearm retail businesses and the already highly regulated federal firearms licensees (FFLs) which provide for the legal exercise of the Second Amendment should do their part to create the backdoor database of gun buyers – something Congress is prohibited by law from doing on their own.

Andrew Ross Sorkin
Andrew Ross Sorkin (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Showtime/AP Images)

“Merchants must start using the code, and not obfuscate transactions by using other classifications,” Sorkin wrote. “Most crucially, the payments industry needs to develop and refine software algorithms for identifying suspicious activity…”

There are those words again…“suspicious activity.”

The suspicion is better reserved for those who would compile lists of Americans lawfully exercising their Constitutional Second Amendment rights. The right to keep and bear arms begins with the ability to make a purchase at the retail counter. Financial industry power players, though, are twisting their roles to facilitate legal transactions into social credit scores that put Americans on secret watch lists.

The financial industry doesn’t need to be suspicious of gun buyers who are already subject to FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications. This move, though, pushed by big banks and egged on by the media, is reason enough for Americans to be suspicious of “woke” bank CEOs doing the bidding of gun control politicians.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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90 COMMENTS

  1. I am not one who promotes boycotts but just don’t see myself supporting this bank or the union owning it. This is a two way street.

    • I’d have baulked at even using this bank the instant I learned they are union-owned. Unions are more than enough trouble solo. Combine same ownership with a bank, nope. Not me. Seen too much dirt coming from unions.

    • Several years ago, I needed to cash a check in an amount just over $2000, but drawn from a European bank because the check was from an American family relative who lived overseas at the time due to his employment.

      Knowing the SAR threshold was $2000, I plainly and directly asked the bank manager (who needed to intervene to help because the check was from a foreign bank) if she needed to file a SAR on me for cashing it. She played dumb and said she had never heard of any such thing as a Suspicious Activity Report. I (very plainly and directly) asked her to please confirm she – as the bank branch manager – had never heard of a SAR, let alone been trained to file them. She again said she didn’t know what I was talking about. It was one of the worst attempts to lie and dodge I had ever seen up close.

  2. Quote—————s and the already highly regulated federal firearms licensees FFLs—quote

    Complete falsehood. Only new guns are vetted. Once a gun is sold it then often passes through many hands as a second hand gun and this is pure insanity. Two Chicago studies proved the average age of a crime gun was 13 years old and and been sold and resold many times and all without any paperwork letting any nut case or criminal buy all the firepower they could ever want. Again pure insanity as no civilized nation tolerates such absolute madness.

    quote—-The financial industry doesn’t need to be suspicious of gun buyers who are already subject to FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications———-quote

    An equally ludicrous statement. By instituting Universal Background Checks or better yet registration of all firearms the huge market of second hand unvetted guns would begin to dry up almost overnight as few law abiding citizens would take the chance of being incarcerated, fined and lose their gun rights for life if they sold a gun without running the buyer through the Federal Background Check system.

    The history of gun control proves that gun control does work and work far better than the U.S. who has very little gun control and the rivers of blood that flow in our streets everyday as compared to civilized nations is proof beyond all reasonable doubt that we are living in a country gone completely gun mad.

    And notice the title “C.E.O of Union Owned” What do unions even have to do with the subject. This title was an obvious bias against Unions which have given workers decent wages and benefits which C.E.O.’s and stock holders ordinarly soak up the profits rather than sharing the profits with the workers.

      • darcydodo RE: “The history of gun control proves that gun control does work and work far better than the U.S. who has very little gun control and the rivers of blood that flow in our streets everyday as compared to civilized nations is proof beyond all reasonable doubt that we are living in a country gone completely gun mad.”

        In your case darcydodo Gun Control does work only to prove what a pathetic politically inept history lilliterate lying drama queen you are. I suggest you learn to respect the rights of the law abibing by separating them from the criminal element who misuse anything they can get their hands including their own hands and feet. Failure to cease and desist attempts to deny rights is asking for a swift kick in the pants.

    • Anytime dacian uses the phrase “no civilized nation tolerates” you should translate as no socialist nation/communist nation, basically the only countries he likes. The only reason he hasn’t just picked up and gone where it is supposedly so much better than here is, well his mothers basement is here and not there.

    • Dacian, exactly which union are you a member of? I am a member of CWA, and I will be able to correct that in July. It’s not easy to get out after you been jumped in. Cocksuckers rolled over for the jab. You know the one that Joe and the ho said they would never take.

      • The only union to him. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and it’s soon to be vassal state The United Socialist States of America.

        He’s been reading Reds and fapping away.

    • Your illogic astounds me. Retail purchases with a credit card–which is what these would be–would ALL be subject to a background check. A second hand sale NOT involving an FFL is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY to involve the use of a credit card much less a merchant. I mean, like DUH!

      • Mark N,

        Please try to remember, before you respond to another dacian the demented dips*** comment, to translate it, first, from retard into English, THEN respond.

        If you try to treat his normal, illogical, brain farts as actual thoughts, you will go wrong, every time.

        Of course, once you do translate his retarded nonsense into a semblance of English, the only possible response is, “dacian, go back to your afternoon circle jerk with MinorLiar and Prince Albert”.

        See? I just saved you hours of effort. No thanks needed.

    • I’ve bought four used guns at gun shows over the last 37 Years……every one of the sellers required a 4473 to be filled out (two back in 1985) and two also did background checks around 2001. Used Guns Are Vetted TOO, you moron.

    • Only new guns are vetted. Once a gun is sold it then often passes through many hands as a second hand gun and this is pure insanity.

      Dackie Boy you are SOOO predictable. How WRONG can you get? READ the laws. ANY gun sale through any FFL is mandatd to go through the NICS background check system. Does not matter, new, used, rebuilt, salvaged, repaired, even pawned going back to its owner who pawned it.

      If’n yer gonna bloviate on your marxist guun control rants, at least TRY and get yer facts straight. That’s a good boy now, go and read up on this. Maybe start with the LAWS about firearms purchases.

      Make us work just a LITTLE bit harder to continue proving you are an iggerunt liar with evil intent.

    • you still have NOT explained how to get criminals to comply

      Or how to get the millions guns already out there to be registered.

      As is normal from you, nothing you say is workable.

    • Duncian says, “The history of gun control proves that gun control” is racist, elitest, sexist, and works against every minority, ever. Gun control is always instituted just before an authoritarian regime begins killing off the people that the regime disapproves of. Russia, Germany, China, Cambodia, and dozens of smaller tinpot dictators have “proven” how effective gun control really is. Sad that there are no Ukrainians left who remember being disarmed by the Soviet. Today, there are only Ukrainians old enough to remember that Ukraine continued to keep the citizenry disarmed after the Soviet collapsed. Go to a library, Duncian, and find books about Holodomor. Study them.

    • Unions ain’t done squat for the worker since they stopped running guns to shoot back at the private armies trying to kill them for having the nerve to ask for a lunch break.

    • @dacina

      “Complete falsehood. Only new guns are vetted.”

      100% false

      For example, You ever heard of ATF inspections?

      “An equally ludicrous statement. By instituting Universal Background Checks or better yet registration of all firearms the huge market of second hand unvetted guns would begin to dry up almost overnight as few law abiding citizens would take the chance of being incarcerated, fined and lose their gun rights for life if they sold a gun without running the buyer through the Federal Background Check system.”

      100% false – by the very contradictions you write yourself also

      “The history of gun control proves that gun control does work and work far better than the U.S. who has very little gun control and the rivers of blood that flow in our streets everyday as compared to civilized nations is proof beyond all reasonable doubt that we are living in a country gone completely gun mad.”

      100% false – for soooo many reasons. I don’t have the time right now but I might post them later for you, especially the part about your ‘civilized nations’

      “And notice the title “C.E.O of Union Owned” What do unions even have to do with the subject. This title was an obvious bias against Unions which have given workers decent wages and benefits which C.E.O.’s and stock holders ordinarly soak up the profits rather than sharing the profits with the workers.”

      What a stupid thing to say. I’ll just leave you with a hint: Amalgamated Bank is currently majority-owned by Workers United, an SEIU Affiliate.

    • If a second hand gun passes through the hands of an FFL, a NICS check is required before sale. Only sales by private individuals who are not in the firearms business are exempt. Even then, they are required not to sell to a buyer that a reasonable seller would suspect might be prohibited. Most gun shows require NICS checks for sales consummated at the show even when the seller is legitimately not in the business.

    • For once you are largely correct. The background check/vetting system is useless, and should be discontinued to save tens of millions of wasted dollars each year. Glad to see you’re finally catching on!

  3. Debbie, I agree that she is a ignorant slut. Gotta ask though, did you notice she doesn’t look like me? The next step is to monitor how much bacon and eggs you buy. After all why should we have to pay more for insurance because you don’t eat bugs. Don’t be foolish, damn government is behind the shootings. Think it’s coincidence how many of them should have not passed nics? How about no more video of the ugly hag, and let’s see some more of the blond in the ad below the hag video!

    • Yes I did see she was Black and if I soft balled her because of that it would be treating her below the level of the lily white shannon watts et al. Therefore without prejudice the brown-shirt is on the same plane as anyone else and receives equal treatment as anyone dumb enough to say and do what stems from nazi crap.

      • in the middle of a sentence an adjective should NOT be capitalised. At the start, yes. WHY did you improperly capitalise the word “brown” in the middle of a sentence?

        Fourth grade grammar rules still apply, even in today’s Ray Cyst Madness.

    • That is the ONLY payment method Ive used for decades for my favourite class of tools. Except back when Cabelas owned their own bank/credit card company, but then I trusted them to play fair and upright. WHen they sold the credit card end of things was fobbed off onto another bank. The high security and trust was now compromised. Cash In Fist, the only safe transaction.

      • HOWEVER, Cabelas/Fishcrap, Brownells, Schells, etc all utilize BS computer based 4473. NO. What idiot would post your personal info on the public display board down at the library/gym/city hall? Yet you’ll allow retailers to store the info in some faux secure database for anyone/ATF access. Dumb.

        If buying new – cash/paper 4473.

  4. Either they’re lying about the codes or they already have plans for more specific codes. Otherwise the data is useless for flagging “suspicious activity.”

    Eventually we’ll all have to opt-out of direct deposit paychecks since a logical next step for a person who buys “suspicious” things is to have their pay frozen until whatever excuse to hold/investigate/check has passed.

    In their minds wha’ts the difference between a two week wait on taking your rifle home vs. a two week wait to access your salary.

      • Try two months without salary when an administration staff member took two weeks leave and took my keys. It was declared as administrative detention as I was onsite and couldn’t leave. And because the detention was over two pay periods, the salary was forfeit.

        CEO found out but admin were determined and fought all the way because in their words “I had done things” but did not specify events, times, or locations. CEO really raked them over the coals with HR and legal getting involved.

        Eventually salary was returned. Admin were furious and found ways of petty revenge. But 3 months between pays resulted in a lot of debts and penalties.

        What financial orgs will do will be worse.

    • I suspect the bankers will be putting more and more pressure on non cash financial transactions like this attack on any company that also sells guns. As this happens we will see more people pulling cash out of the bank and spending that on larger transactions, particularly for things the government doesn’t like or wants to control.

      • I just today pulled twenty two Banjamins out of my normal account, dropped it into a different one that already had a chunk sitting there. A check drawn on that bank will be put into the hands of the entity who needs it. No flags will be raised. No special codes secretly and nefariously recorded for posterity. Anyone wanting ti see where THAT money ends up will need a warrant, and I warrant they will either have to perjure themselves or will be denied the warrant, as there is no demonstrable probable cause.

        • You think “Financial Institutions” demand a valid (their lawyer inspects) warrant before they give the FBI/feds info? That’s just so cute/naive. You know that it’s 2022?

  5. Affirmative action hireling from pandering Amalgamated Bank. SELL any stock you might have in such an incompetent worktard outfit.

  6. The unions are one of the biggest scourges in this nation… they are the main reason we have stolen elections and grossly overpaid workers… we should round them all up, fly them to North Korea and drop them off…. and those in favor of them as well..

    • I often wonder, with “plans” like this, does this fool realize that the proposal is to sneak around detection to do something which is absolutely illegal? Does she factor in going to PRISON if discovered? If it were not illegal, all the tricky crap would be unnecessary.

    • @dacian

      you are a real idiot dacian. Sometimes people do idiotic things but you are a real deal idiot through and through.

      You just more than suitably demonstrated that you don’t get any of this at all, are not qualified to speak on any aspect of fire arms use for self defense, and don’t have the slightest understanding.

      You don’t realize what you just wrote now do you.

      You write the very justification for having a firearm for self defense when the threat comes to you not you to it. Not that a fire fight should have ensued. Obviously you don’t understand what you read at your link. No, no one on your ‘far right’ will scream that.

      You did read the part where the employee went outside to the angry customer shooter, right? You are aware the employee did the wrong thing by going outside to confront an angry customer, right?

      The part that’s over the top here is you with your ridiculous interjection of your imaginary ‘streets running red with blood’ because a KFC employee did the wrong thing and got shot as a result.

      But I’m pretty sure you don’t understand this very simple concept either.

      • lil ‘d is sooooo far left that people that are “normal left” can be accurately described by him as far-right, at least from where he’s at.
        Reminds me of when Lena called Oly to warn him there was a report of a wrong-way-driver on his way home. Oly responded ” Oh Lena, it’s way worse… they’re ALL going the wrong way !!”

    • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD. Seems your story is rather INCOMPLETE. I wonder if it will ever be followed up on so we can find out if the assailant owned the gun legally? What was the description of the perpetrator? Etc?

    • MSM provides NO description of the thug shooter? What does that tell you about the protected demographic involved. Think you can fill in the blanks?

    • And a perpetrator who has poor impulse control and an over-inflated sense of entitlement.

      Perhaps it is a cultural thing.

    • This action was illegal and will be punished, I would assume including lifetime removal of right to arms. What are you trying to complain about?

  7. Fuck credit, I’ll do without before the banks charge me extra to rent me somthing.
    All gunm sales or anything else I buy is with cash. Purchased first home with cash. Fuck the banks. Fuck direct deposit. FTG

  8. Chase already declines all purchases of guns and ammo. Have tested it many times. Sometimes, I call Chase to ask why they declined my purchase. They always tell me they did not decline, the merchant cancelled the transaction. Right.

    I thought about only using cash for arms and ammo, but there is a cost impact. Recently, I purchased 500 rounds of reman 223. Paid 40 cents per round including shipping. Local gun stores, even Cabellas, were over 50 cents per round, some as high as 60 cents. That is a big difference and it justified using the credit card.

    BTW, never had a bad round from any of the three reman firms I use. My Glocks, my Rugers (pistol and rifle), and my S&W, they eat it all.

    • That’s weird, I use my Chase credit card to buy gun stuff and ammo all the time. I used it to buy Gatekeeper shotgun shells this week. I usually buy a couple of pistols a year and always use the credit card and never had an issue.

      • Cato,

        LOL!!! Clearly, Chase like you a lot better than me! I wonder what I did to piss the off?

        If I knew, I might do it again.

        🤠

        • I don’t have any problem using my Chase card to buy guns and stuff.

          But, I’ve heard of what you say from others with Chase cards.

        • Get a new/better CCard. Chase Bank isn’t anything special just do more “marketing” than many. Particularly affinity and vanity cards.

          Or USE CASH/prepaid card.

        • It may be geographic location. When we snowbirded in Florida last year, despite calling Chase to tell them this, one in four merchant purchases ( not gas) were rejected, and when I called about it each time, I got no reason for the rejection. I went to spending cash.
          John in Indy

          The merchant codes are narrow, but not item codes. To me this looks more like a first filter for IRS and alphabet soup colonoscopies. John

  9. It’s a cliche, but if you really wanted to do something about gun violence, you’d set your sights on the inner city war zones where thousands die every year.

    If you don’t, then you either don’t truly care about reducing gun violence, or you don’t care about gun violence as long as it predominately affects minorities.

    • That works until a specific gun you want is located many states away from where you are, and it needs to be shipped to your local FFL for a transfer…

  10. As one New Jersey politician recently admitted, these programs are all directed at law abiding gun owners, not the thugs who buy their guns in the street with cash or drugs. Moreover, with few exceptions, mass shooters do not own arsenals of guns, they own one or two and a few thousand rounds of ammo. (Vegas and Aurora, Co are the two exceptions I can think of. The Sandy Hook shooter was not the purchaser of the firearms.)

    • dacian the demented dips***,

      Thanks for showing us all, once again, that you know f***-all about anything. While I find Texas as pleasantly ‘free’ state, it ain’t even CLOSE to being “redneck”. You’re just too f***ing stupid to even know what ‘redneck’ is. Unless someone is like you, and slurps any Euroweenie knob they can find, you don’t consider them ‘civilized’.

      Guess what? NO ONE here wishes to be ‘civilized’ by your standards (well, except, possibly, MinorLiar or Prince Albert).

  11. This is wrong, but easily circumvented. First, keep a little cash on hand for an unexpected deal. Second, if it’s an anticipated purchase, withdraw a couple hundred bucks here and there from your bank’s ATM. No one will notice. When you’re ready, buy something you deserve and is not a bank’s business.

  12. I’ll just say this. .there are legal ways to use credit cards to purchase guns without encountering this back door unconstititional government infringement by MCC tracking. All of you know about it or have heard about it and some have even done it, you just don’t know you know about it because the connection is not obvious.

  13. We have been voting with our feet/dollars for several years now. It creates a modicum of inconvenience, no doubt. Nevertheless, I believe that conservatives, being by far the largest segment of the population, can easily force wokesters out of the board room and/or leave wokeness-driven-enterprises on the trash heap of defunct, bankrupt and irrelevant enterprises. I also believe we need to take the matter very seriously.

  14. Having grown up in New York, I am quite familiar with Amalgamated Bank and its leftwing history. However, if there’s any consolation here, it’s that their customers are totally in sync with all this and aren’t very likely to own guns themselves. There won’t be a whole lot to track among them.

    Keep an eye on the Wells Fargos, Citibanks, and Bank of Americas though.

  15. You all know that this is actually illegal, right?

    They definitely try to threaten and intimidate people so that they are deprived of their constitutional right to own guns!

    Who is going to bring a lawsuit against them?

    https://www.justice.gov/crt/conspiracy-against-rights

    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…

    They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

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