- Visa, Mastercard and American Express will categorize gun store sales separately.
- The ruling is a victory for gun control advocates, who say it will help track gun sales.
- Until Friday, gun store sales were considered general merchandise.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express will separately categorize purchases at gun stores in a victory for gun control advocates who say the decision will help alert law enforcement to potential illegal firearms sales.
According to the Associated Press, payment processors announced the change on Saturday after the International Organization for Standardization, a Geneva-based nonprofit, approved the creation of a commercial code for arms sellers.
Until Friday, gun store sales did not have a unique code and were considered “general merchandise,” according to an ISO spokeswoman.
“Following ISO’s decision to create a new merchant category code, Visa will continue with the next steps, ensuring that we protect all legitimate commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our legacy rules,” the company said. in a statement to Insider.
Reuters reported that the ISO had been lobbied by gun control advocates, including US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who urged the CEOs of Mastercard, American Express and Visa to make the change.
“Mass shooters have repeatedly funded deadly massacres using credit cards, and bank CEOs need to step up to save lives,” Warren said.
In a statement to Insider, Mastercard said, “We understand and appreciate the important policy imperative in reducing gun violence, and we see the recent bipartisan action in Congress as a positive step. We believe it’s the kind of effort that will meaningfully address the tragic weapon of violence facing the country.”
The AP reported that gun rights advocates argue that tracking gun sales unfairly targets legal gun purchases.
In 2019, Chris Cox, a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, wrote an op-ed for the organization, saying that “surveillance procedures” introduced by the credit card industry “would have a profound, negative effect on gun owners and the firearms industry, and pose a broader threat to all freedom-minded Americans.”
Senator Warren and the National Rifle Association did not respond to The Insider’s request for comment.
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