Elizabeth Warren
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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By Mark Oliva

There’s no bigger proof that the merchant category code (MCC) specific to firearm retailers is really a bad idea than those losing their minds now that major credit card companies announced they won’t put it into practice.

U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Department of Justice and Treasury Department to publish “any policy advisory, enforcement guidance and other materials needed by financial institutions retailers and law enforcement as the new code is implemented for gun an ammunition stores.” That was followed by a letter from 14 state attorneys general, led by New Jersey Democrat AG Matthew Platkin, to the CEOs of the major credit card companies telling them they see “no justifiable reason” to pause implementation of the tracking code.

The attorneys general accused the credit card companies of buckling to political pressure, only to add their own veiled threats if they don’t go along with their gun control scheme.

Senator Robert Menendez New Jersey

“Should you fail to do so, your complicity with ongoing needless gun tragedies will lead us to consider further actions,” the attorneys general letter states.

How We Got Here

The MCC is the brainchild of Amalgamated Bank’s CEO Priscilla Sims Brown and The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, all backed by Giffords gun control group. Amalgamated Bank has been called “The Left’s Private Banker,” hosting accounts for Political Action Committees for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic National Committee. The notion of having credit card companies track firearm purchases caught the attention of antigun lawmakers in state capitols and on Capitol Hill.

A specific code for purchases at firearm retail is fraught with Constitutional concerns. First among them is the fact that those who designed this code publicly announced that this specific code is “just the beginning.”

Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown
Priscilla Sims Brown (Screenshot courtesy New York Times)

The way it is currently structured, the code would track undefined “suspicious purchases” at firearm retailers, but wouldn’t delve “into the basket” to see what individuals actually purchased. That means the credit card companies would only see total amounts, not individual items. That means purchases for sleeping bags, tents, waders and decoys would be under the same scrutiny as firearms and ammunition.


That presents serious concerns that these codes could be abused to create a back-door firearm registry. Since the federal government is barred from creating a national firearm registry, these antigun senators and attorneys general would lean on the credit card companies to do that work for them. That would put anyone making a purchase at a firearm retailer on a watchlist – even if they didn’t actually purchase a firearm and ammunition.

It wouldn’t end there, though. The “just the beginning” admonition can’t be interpreted any other way other than next steps would include scrutiny of examining what is in the shopper’s basket. Sorkin’s original goal was to deny firearm and ammunition purchases with credit cards altogether, but a much more nefarious scheme would be in the offing. The credit cards could be forced by political special interests to divulge personal information to government authorities. That’s more than chilling Constitutional rights. It is outright intrusion.

big brother surveillance

This also raises considerable privacy concerns. Firearm owners are rightly wary of their inclusion on any list. As demonstrated, law enforcement authorities in New York and California negligently “leaked” information of concealed carry permit holders to the public. That information now is available to would-be criminals and makes those firearm owners targets for potential crime against them and their household.

State Roadblocks

There is no statutory requirement for credit card companies to track purchases made at firearm retailers. The code is a voluntary measure that was approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It’s not a requirement for credit card companies to implement it. In fact, several states are on the verge of enacting legislation that would specifically prohibit the use of a unique MCC for purchases at a firearm retailer, including West Virginia, Mississippi and Florida.

That is the reason the major credit card companies “paused” their MCC implementation plans. Different states would have differing laws pertaining to their use and would sow confusion and uneven application of policies. Despite what these antigun lawmakers and law enforcement officials claim, financial institutions are already required to report suspicious activities that are potential violations of law.

Adding in millions-upon-millions of lawful transactions at firearm retailers doesn’t make communities safer. Even VISA CEO Al Kelly said the codes wouldn’t work as Amalgamated Bank and other gun control advocates wished. “If [Visa’s Chief Communications Officer] K.C. Kavanagh goes into a gun store and buys three thermoses and a tent, and you go in and buy a rifle and five rounds of ammunition, all I know is you both went to the same gun store… But I don’t know what you bought.”

Dumping hundreds of millions of purchase records creates a bigger haystack in which law enforcement must search through to find the proverbial needle.

gun store buying surge
(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

It all begs the question of why these gun control-supporting politicians and attorneys general are now demanding that credit card companies institute these codes. The answer is simple. They’re being denied the ability to create a national firearm registry that they could exploit to quash lawful firearm ownership in America.

The firearm retailer-specific MCC was never about controlling crime. It has always been about controlling you.


Mark Oliva is the Managing Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 

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  1. So, the democrats don’t get their way in the courts, so they use corporations to help spread their tyranny.

  2. We need a national “Take a CEO to the Range” day. CEOs will be invited and encouraged (and browbeaten) to learn to shoot so they can relate to a massive percentage of their customer base. Put the pressure on them to learn how much more fun shooting is than golf.

    Maybe the NRA can sponsor and promote it. After all, hobb-knobbing and photo- shoots is mostly what they do, anyway.

    • no reason we can’t combine the two, even though one is not a sport. soda can cannon towards the green and a cache of participants halfway down the fairway trying to pop it.

    • @Life,

      I did just that one year ago. The CEO of my company had a single handgun in his closet…classic situation of a fence-sitting gun owner. I invited him to a 2-day instructional course, and he loved it so much he went back twice more on his own, even taking another upper manager with him. He recently asked me if we could go again for 2023.

    • “We need a national “Take a CEO to the Range” day.”

      Downrange? 🙂

    • Golf is a great excuse to drink while walking(or stopping your golf cart. Not a great idea at the range. Since it is so hard to have a silenced weapon, it is rather loud, newbies don’t always like that, either.
      People going to the range need to pay attention and focus to maintain gun safety.

    • many of them are gun owners but think themselves above us chattel and keep saying to themselves that those laws won’t effect them as they are special and have friends who will help them if they get caught.

  3. The threats by the AGs and politicians warning of unspecified retribution if the codes are not instituted are hysterical. As the article notes, the inclusion of the code is purely voluntary, and therefore there is no legal mandate for them to do so. The card companies are thus being threatened with public shaming if they do not do what these politicians demand of them, despite the demands being totally illegitimate and the code utterly useless. Yes, this is all about creating a backdoor registry, if not of guns, then of gun owners; it is public persons/entities demanding that private persons do what the public entities are forbidden from doing. Ah, ya gotta love cancel culture. NOT!

    • To them, all are guilty until innocence can be proved by them. Proof will take a long time to be realized. Investigations can’t be rushed.

    • “The threats by the AGs and politicians warning of unspecified retribution if the codes are not instituted are hysterical.”

      Counterattack – Introduce legislation to record what books people check out at the public library, and every internet search result. Sent weekly to the local police.

      After all, if they aren’t doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about, right?


    • Sure, it’s voluntary for the businesses, until its not and Warren and her ilk make it mandatory. This combined with the progressive/WEF fever dream of central bank digital currencies and/or the consolidation of big banking into FedNow, culminating in social credit scores for not only individuals but businesses. With this tool they could turn off everyone with a specific MCC all at once. Sure, just think of the end game, i.e. to what end?

      • wow ummmm that’s not at all possible. and progressives want to break up the powerful banks and go a more district based co op type, Trump eliminated the dod frank regulation that would have prevented the svb from collapsing. he also hired the guy who had a big hand in the 08 financial collapse and made him secretary treasure you just believe anything spewed from a republican you probably think inflation is something real and not just a fancy word used instead of just calling it smooth running capitalism it’s a flawed system and designed to fail and restart about once every 15yrs when the money grab happens ,record profits and mass stock buy back would only result from lies and greed not from higher costs to operate you watch TV and you couldn’t possibly follow politics by doing that you listen to people who get free health care tell you that you don’t want free health care..cause your health insurance company pays him to tell you that and you support the party whose got a representative that is responsible for the largest Medicare fraud scandal in history as a elected member if people actually follow real politics they definitely wouldn’t be a republican

  4. “The attorneys general accused the credit card companies of buckling to political pressure, only to add their own veiled threats if they don’t go along with their gun control scheme.”


    Democrats: “Don’t buckle to their political pressure, we demand you buckle to our political pressure!”

  5. No political pressure there at all. Sounds like a good old fashioned threat from where I stand.
    Now if the ceo’s of the cc companies realize where their $$$$ comes from and their customers don’t like being f$#ked with maybe they will grow a pair. Doubtful but maybe

  6. Corporate billionaires bought the left and converted it to fascism. And the fascists are upset and throwing a hissy fit when they cannot get their way.

    It would be funny if it was not an ongoing tragedy. The anti-fascists morphed into the fascists and don’t even realize it. Shows you the value of the modern American education. None.

    • Oh no, they are completely aware that their identity as fascist has become obvious – it’s not like they’re any different now as they were when President Wilson locked up political opponents, or FDR’s administration crushed anyone who opposed The New Deal, or worked with wealthy Left Coast elites to lock up Japanese Americans and steal their property…they simply don’t care that it’s obvious that they’re seditious, traitorous, fascist scum, when our society succumbs to their treachery they’ll be in charge, no one will remain to oppose them and our history will be rewritten…a boot, stomping on a human face, forever…

      • Some of those Japs looked like American Injuns so getting their land stole from them was Okay.

  7. Lets apply the democrat logic to another right…

    Democrats: “We want a special MCC code for people purchasing phones and computers. We wanna know who is posting stuff on social media. And if you don’t do it you will be complicit in ongoing needless … well, you will be complicit just take our word for it.”

    complicit my butt. The CC companies are not complicit in any gun tragedies.

    • And if you don’t do it you will be complicit in {the} ongoing needless…

      …presence of morons like dacian? Does that help?

    • They would never go for codes on computers or phones. Too many Weiners , the Tony type in office.

  8. “Should you fail to do so, your complicity with ongoing needless gun tragedies will lead us to consider further actions,”

    A) A retailer who sells guns is no more complicit in what is done with guns in general than a car dealer is complicit in hit-and-run traffic accidents. A payment processor who facilitates a gun purchase is no more complicit than the bank that financed the car loan.

    B) You knowing that J.Q. Public spent $647 at Bass Pro Shops last Saturday does *nothing* at all to reduce “needless gun tragedies.”

    • “A) A retailer who sells guns is no more complicit in what is done with guns in general than a car dealer is complicit in hit-and-run traffic accidents.”

      The same way liquor stores aren’t responsible for the hard alcohol they sell every day, or the drunk driving crashes that kill and maim tens of thousands annually…

      • Now do drug dealers selling to legal adults. Watch the heads explode.

        What’s the difference between a heroin dealer and Pfizer?

        Pfizer having rando people stand in a parking lot to purvey mystery sauce (as in the buyer has zero fuckin’ clue what’s being sold and nether does the “retail seller”) in a syringe is promoted by the government, and in fact mandated.

        IRL, the heroin’s probably safer. Even in the age of fentanyl.

        • “What’s the difference between a heroin dealer and Pfizer?”

          One’s an undocumented pharmacist, the other supplies the undocumented pharmacist? 🙂

  9. Fauxcahontas speaks with forked tongue. But the muckity mucks want to cast out Rep Santos(R) for lying. Not the fake injun who ran on Cherokee identity. And a college professor ship in Ivy League🙄🙁

      • Any TTAGers out there believe Warren and Menendez actually do their own thinking? My guess, they receive orders, genuflect, and say “Yes, Master. Right away, Master.”

  10. U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

    All that’s missing is a sheet and a brown shirt.

    • “All that’s missing is a sheet and a brown shirt.”

      They can borrow those from dacian.

  11. So, ANYTHING purchased from a store that just happens to also sell firearms is now considered a “suspicious purchase”? WTF!! These assholes REALLY do need an intensive reeducation course on the Constitution and EXACTLY what their fucking job description IS, they have ASSUMED way too much power and overstepped their authority by a mile…

    • ” …ANYTHING purchased from a store that just happens to also sell firearms is now considered a ‘suspicious purchase’ ”


      not only gun people though… ANYONE.

      if Joe Anti-Gun goes into, say, Bass Pro or Academy Sports to buy camping gear its a ‘suspicious purchase’ and will go in the ‘illegal backdoor registry’ and a federal investigation will be launched…and the next thing probably ATF showing up at Joe’s home like they do to us without a warrant or cause, armed, using threats and intimidation trying to force Joe into letting them come in to search and seize as they please.

      This MCC thing is a blatant unconstitutional and illegal move by Democrats to circumvent law and the constitution and its use will expose law abiding American citizens, gun people or not, to blatant violations of their constitutional rights and endanger them.

      How can the danger in this not be seen? Anyone not a complete moron can see, even at a minimum, the danger in letting government use private corporations do their dirty work for them to bypass the law and constitution.

      it seems the CC companies, by not implementing it, and pro-2A people are the only ones with common sense in this.

      • How can the danger in this not be seen?

        People rarely see what they’re not looking for and they’ve been well trained not to look for practically anything, hence my harping on propaganda. While man-on-the-street interviews are cherrypicked but internal and private polling data is not.

        The number of people currently breathing who can pass an 8th grade exam from 1915 is staggeringly low.

        Now, people who bother to look into this seriously all find that Americans (and many other Western people) are remarkably ignorant about many important and even daily things, from tax millage rates to geography to basic math. Yet these people, often, are not stupid. They can quote TV shows or sports stats like a fuckin’ machine.

        This is by design. HRC has remarked on this without realizing she was being recorded.

        My personal favorite thing to do in person when people engage in particularly aggressive generational warfare is to ask the stupid simple version of the “lily pad question”; If lily pads grow in such a manner as to increase their coverage of a pond exponentially and the entire pond is covered a pond in [pick a number] years, in what year was half the pond covered?”.

        Virtually no one who is a generational warfare aficionado of any age can answer that question (I’ve never bothered with the harder versions). Which seems, IME, to be related to why they’re a fan of being gaslit against other people they’ve never met and have no beef with IRL.

        I’ve seen too much, read too many Lefty academic publications and talked personally to too many Lefties to think for a second that this is accidental.


  12. How the democrats envision this MCC thing working:

    Guy one: “Hi. Hey what ya got there?”

    Guy two: “Hi ya. Got a new tent at bass pro, gonna take my son camping. Went back later to pick up some other camping supplies they had on sale too.”

    Guy one: “Did ya use a credit card?”

    Guy two: “Why, yes I did. Why?”

    Guy one: “ATF! GET ON THE GROUND! You are under arrest for illegal gun purchases.”

  13. U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez is a corrupt SOB, that has wiggled out of numerous corruption and cheating investigations. He should be sitting in jail.

  14. You’d think with Senator Warrens Native American ancestry she’d be more in tune with the fears people have of corporate/government overreach.

    Oh, that’s right. She got caught not-red handed lying about and profiting from her heritage for decades and not one damn thing happened to her for it.

  15. The ATF already is in the habit of denying people on a NICS check over “suspicious behavior” which may be buying too many guns or not having tax receipts that an agent deems “reasonable” to allow the purchase of a firearm.

    While I’d probably agree that some of the behavior is suspicious when stated as it is, and since that’s from ATF agents I’m not sure I give it a lot of weight in the “truth” department, but whatever.

    The point is that they’re already tied in with Treasury and the IRS (and certainly more) and are cross referencing those agencies non-criminal databases looking for reasons to deny a 4473.

    “ATF headquarters will not disclose how it acquired the other suspects’ incomes, employment information, and past gun purchases found in the FOIA forms.”


    • When possible use cash. What I spend my money on is NOT the governments business!

      They’re going to make it their business when they finally get digital currency up and running then you WILL use the government issued (mark of the beast) payment card or you will not participate in commerce… They will not only determine what, when and where you buy but they will also decide your longevity based on your contributions to society… Welcome to 1984 meets Logans Run…

      • v1.0 coming to you this July, just waiting on the exact date.

        As I predicted, nothing will be done to stop this. Your betters have made the decision. You will live and die by their choices.

        The retirees will be strip mined, their assets centralized and their life expectancy reduced by 10 years or more.

        The seeds planted 15 years ago have sprouted and matured, nurtured by media and a gaslit population. Now, harvest time approaches.

        The people who understand it to any great degree have been taught to hate those who will be first into the woodchipper. Those who will be the first victims have spent the last decade and a half insuring their own demise by playing the game they’ve always been meant to lose.

        You will do nothing to stop this, nor will anyone else. But, if you could send the RNC $25 beforehand, that would be appreciated.

        • Awesome!

          Your return address will be used for future mailing efforts to solicit funds for the purpose of “rolling back” those authoritarian measures we could have stopped but didn’t because we support them.

          Thank you for your patronage.

          The GOP.

          [Yes, part of the original post was at this level of sarcasm. But FedCoin does start in July, according to the Fed, so… we might wanna, I dunno… do something about that before the rest goes from sarcasm to reality.]

        • If the “FedCoin” rollout is as successful as the Obamacare website rollout we have nothing to worry about except the extinction level demise of city dwellers who will starve to death from not being able to buy food…

        • You touch it with a pin.

          But the problem isn’t just the city dwellers. It’s basically impossible to logic through everything that would happen but imagine that all currency simply disappears tomorrow and is gone for several months or weeks.

          Because it’s not like you can just flip a switch and go back.

          The country is, quite literally, over. Nearly everything stops.

          And then people panic.

          You want to destroy the country in a month? This is the way to do that. And, yes, the Left wants that. They’ve openly spoken of it for over a century, so if they do anything (other than die screaming, which they richly deserve) they’ll try to stop you from fixing the problem.

          The absolute best case is that a hurricane runs the eastern seaboard and we get a “small scale” view of what that does and reverse course.

          Then again, if you’re hoping for a very French circa 1789 sort of solution to our problems, this is a great way to get it.

  16. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “loose minds” – assert facts not in evidence. When did those two morons have minds to loose?

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