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Second Amendment supporters and law-abiding gun owners can breathe a sigh of relief. For now, at least. The four major credit card companies – American Express, VISA, Mastercard and Discover – have all announced they are “pausing” efforts to implement a newly-created Merchant Category Code (MCC) to track gun store purchases.

NSSF worked diligently with lawmakers in several states and the federal government last year when the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted a credit card tracking scheme proposed by anti-gun activists at Amalgamated Bank and The New York Times.

The result is several states are on the verge of passing legislation that would block the use of firearm retailer-specific code and protect the privacy of customers of firearm retailers, including West VirginiaFlorida and Mississippi. Congress is also looking at the issue.

“There are bills advancing in several states related to the use of this new code,” Mastercard said in a statement. “It’s for that reason that we have decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific MCC.”

A Good First Step

The gun retailer MCC was the pet project effort of Amalgamated Bank President and CEO Priscilla Sims Brown. The union-owned bank pushes progressive causes and gun control and has been called “The Left’s Private Banker.”

Priscilla Sims Brown Amalgamated Bank
Priscilla Sims Brown (courtesy CNBC)

Sims Brown has been assisted by The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, who specifically called on banks to use their infrastructure to track law-abiding Americans who make lawful purchases at gun retailers.

The international standards board which creates MCCs caved to Amalgamated Bank’s multiple petitions for the gun-specific code in September 2022. Questions remain about how that petition process unfolded. Speaking with Sorkin at a New York Times conference, Sims Brown called the new code the “very early stages of this.”

The credit card companies initially said they’d implement the code. The 180-degree turn is welcome news.

Mastercard stated they were pausing. Visa followed, citing the “significant confusion and legal uncertainty” that various legislative proposals have created. Visa CEO Al Kelly said before 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.

Discover was the first card company to publicly state it would implement the MCC. They reversed course and said the company is “removing the new MCC from its next network update planned for April in order ‘to continue alignment and interoperability with the industry.’” American Express emailed statements to media saying they were “pausing” their implementation of the code as well.

NSSF is encouraged by this latest turnaround, but recognizes a “pause” doesn’t necessarily mean the code has been scrapped for good.

Gun Controllers Howling

It’s no surprise gun control advocates who disregard Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans to push restrictive policies that don’t reduce criminal misuse of firearms – like the MCC – were quick to respond to the turnaround.

Adam Skaggs of Giffords Law Center, the legal arm of Giffords gun control, decried the banks’ decisions. “It’s just shameful these companies would buckle to political intimidation,” he said. That’s a pretty ironic statement considering the political pressure anti-gun politicians and groups brought to bear on the payment processors and the ISO.

Everytown, the gun control group bankrolled by billionaire and gun control hypocrite Michael Bloomberg, celebrated when the gun store MCC was created, calling it a “critical step.” It’s been crickets from the group so far on the credit card companies’ reversals.

Brady United gun control President Kris Brown called the companies “shameful.” She nonsensically blamed future misuse of firearms by criminals on the credit card companies.

“Make no mistake, Americans will continue to suffer and die as a result of this deadly decision,” Brown said. “The choice they have now is clear: adopt this new tool at their disposal to prevent gun violence, or drag their feet while gun violence devastates our communities across the country.”

Gun control activist and Guns Down America Executive Director Igor Volsky went so far as to threaten the companies, saying he would hold payment companies accountable “for any delays in implementing this common-sense tool,” including by “communicating with their shareholders.”


While the pause is a positive development, the firearm industry will remain vigilant and work against any efforts to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans and its members’ ability to conduct lawful commerce.

The gun store MCC was always an “initial step” towards backdoor gun control, including illegal gun registries. It was never about realistic efforts to reduce criminal gun misuse.

For the time being, NSSF applauds the credit card companies for making the right decision. NSSF will continue to work with state legislators and Congress to put an end to blatantly discriminatory efforts to push gun control schemes on law-abiding Americans.


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

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  1. Until 2024 when the newly democrat/traitor house is seated and the New Democrat/traitor president is installed. There will be a law overriding state laws. Then the CC companies will resume the “paused” code. Count on it. The Republic is lost.

    • “She nonsensically blamed future misuse of firearms by criminals on the credit card companies.”

      Lol. But that’s what they do! They blame school shooting victims on other gun owners and anyone who doesn’t immediately trade their freedom for laws they think evil people will respect.

  2. “For the time being, NSSF applauds the credit card companies for making the right decision. NSSF will continue to work with state legislators and Congress to put an end to blatantly discriminatory efforts to push gun control schemes on law-abiding Americans.”

    but… just in case … there are legal legitimate methods, other than cash and credit/cards, for payment for firearms and firearms stuff that would not use any MCC code or ‘traditional’ credit/debit card or even debit from you bank account by ACH to the place you are purchasing from. Been doing it for many years, and with the exception of one small start up company have never encountered any problems with using these methods for both online and offline. Some of them involve certain virtual payment services or, let’s call it, ‘intermediate payment’ processors but most don’t.

    no. I’m not going to outline it now in public view.

  3. Unless you are broke, Just go to your bank and get cash to purchase a firearm. You can also use a credit card to obtain cash. It is really that simple. Why over complicate this.

    • ya can’t shove cash into a computer if paying on line and not everything a person wants is available in a LGS or in price ranges they want in a LGS.

  4. But on the other hand if you pay a little more at your LGS, he stays in business and you benefit. Perhaps if you frequent him he might get that thing you want for you.

    • Michael, the LGS here gives veterans, first responders and enforcement people a 10% discount whether cash or credit card is used. The 10% is equidistant to the sales tax, but no matter it is a 10% savings.
      Would be nice is more LGS did the same.

  5. Meanwhile SlaveMasterCard approves the purchase of a $2.00 ice pick by a serial rapist with a mile long rapsheet, for him it’s SlaveMasterCard appreaciates your business, sir. You on the other hand need to be under a magnifying glass 24/7.

    Trespassing laws vary from state to state, some require only spray paint on posts, trees, etc. Just in case one of those insane Gun Control zealots steps across the line be sure they can be arrested and charged with trespassing. After all Gun Control zealots have made threats to get in your face and that includes coming to your door…Big f-n mistake.

    • we used to have a very large anti-gun ‘contingent’ where we used to live. not so large any more. but sometimes they would canvas the area handing out flyers for ‘gun buy backs’ or pamphlets full of the usual deceptive anti-gun stuff. answering the door wearing a gun, in its holster where it stayed, got them all sorts of ‘scared’ and ‘nervous’ and they would withdraw to the street immediately and sometimes call the sheriff (at the time we were in the county and the sheriff was the law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction). the sheriff deputy would arrive, listen to them, then tell them to move on and quit harassing people.

      • In an area of Texas I am familiar with if a property owner calls LE about a trespasser they dispatch several crusiers and sometimes more. It’s a big show.

  6. Well blah blah blah.
    Credit card companies track everything you buy, and then sale that information, its called merchandizing.
    As for gunms and keeping secrets, everytime you’ve purchased a gunm and filled out a 4473 form you’ve just registered your gunm. Fool yourselves into believing you haven’t all you want.
    Credit cards are similar to importing everything we use, dont cry when our dessisions come back to bite us in the ass.
    BTW President Biden, hows those economic sanctions against China doing? Bwhahahaaha. Out of toilet paper again? fckin idiot.

    • 4473 when paper can be lost to time/fire/bureaucratic incompetence. Credit purchases tend to be more reliably stores and searchable as the data is more valuable in regards to selling the data and targeted marketing/predictive analysis. Either way transfer within family and skip both when you can. Up until a point in my lifetime more firearms never involved a 4473 or even a serial number.

      • Me too.
        Now when I buy a gunm in a gunm store the Feds have to check out my past, present and possible future before I can lay the money down.

      • possumo…gunms or no gunms 4473 or no 4473 people like you who see it for what it is is all it takes to land on the top of the list. Don’t worry they’ll come after me before you:)

      • 4473 when paper can be lost to time/fire/bureaucratic incompetence.

        Lose it, burn it, shred it, don’t matter, info has already been transmitted to a fed computer and is now stored in perpetuity at one of those massive govt server farms…

        • Matters when they got the copy and multiple states don’t use it if you have a permit…….. also build a gat are a substantial if minority of not well registered.

    • “Credit card companies track everything you buy, and then sale that information, its called merchandizing.”

      Too true. In other forums that discuss that sort of thing, I’m gung ho on restricting the data that Google and all the rest can collect, keep, and sell. If Target can figure out that a young girl is pregnant before her parents figure it out, there’s something bad wrong with our privacy laws. Given access to the data that Facebook keeps on you, I could figure out in short order whether you cheat on your wife, and with whom, and which hotel you commit adultery in. Add the data that your credit card company keeps, add what Google knows about you, and you have zero secrets.

  7. YEP 4473 , ALREADY STORED .

    • Meh…cash only for me. The state & feds also want to tax our garage sales(!). You want mass disobedience you got .gov🙄

  8. Going on the articles I’ve read in recent months, the CC companies are giving firearms/outdoor sports stores like Bass Pro a separate classification number. Not tracking items purchased. So if I go buy a couple fishing poles or a camp stove from the retailer, it tracks the same as if I bought a rifle or a couple boxes of ammo. This will do what to prevent criminal use of firearms again? The shop I use for most of my firearms related purchases is also a pawn shop. I’ve purchased shop tools and misc. other non firearm related items there as well. Including a guitar for 1 of my grandkids. Wonder if the powers that be are looking into a used guitar as somehow a dangerous weapon.

  9. I already cut up my Discover card. Guess I’ll wait on the Visa and Mastercard still I see how this pans out.

  10. Gun control activist and *Guns Down America Executive Director IGOR VOLSKY* went so far as to threaten the companies, saying he would hold payment companies accountable “for any delays in implementing this common-sense tool,” including by “communicating with their shareholders.”

    I think Igor needs to go back to wherever he came from.


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