True Shot Ammo

Credit Card Companies Back Down on Tracking Gun and Ammo Purchases

Last year it was announced that Discover Financial Services, your that Discover credit card in your wallet was going to implement a a gun (and ammo) specific merchant category code, (MCC). Discover also hinted that the other major credit card companies were getting ready to comply as well, those companies were American Express, MasterCard and Visa. This new MCC code would have tracked all purchases made by individuals purchasing ammunition or firearms at a licensed dealer, although it was widely reported that some general sporting goods stores such as Bass Pro Shop, Cabela’s, and Dick’s would have been exempt.

Outside of this being wildly anti second amendment and in some ways creating a backdoor gun registry, its downright creepy to have credit card companies pick and choose who to “watch” over and the larger question was how they planned to use this data and the potential reporting to a Federal Government Agency. For example, what if someone bought a $500 gift certificate at a gun shop to give as a gift, would that person them be reported and why? Was there a threshold of dollar amount or frequency of purchases that would have been deemed suspicious? It was starting to feel like gun enthusiasts were being tracked solely for exercising a second amendment right.

We are happy to report that as of March 2023, it appears that the banks of suspended the use of this new MCC code that would have tracked purchases of ammunition and firearms. The same month this restrictive policy was proposed, 24 attorneys general lead by Montana AG Austin Knudsen, and Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti sent a letter to the CEO’s of American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, stating the following:

As Attorneys General, we have the privilege of protecting our citizens from corporate coordination that hurts consumers. We are also charged with ensuring that consumer data is not unlawfully gathered or used. … Be advised that we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights. Please keep that in mind as you consider whether to proceed with adopting and implementing this Merchant Category Code.”

A MasterCard representative replied to the inquiry by saying, “Today, there are bills advancing in several states related to the use of this new code. If passed, the result will be an inconsistency in how this ISO standard could be applied by merchants, issuers, acquirers and networks. It’s for that reason that we have decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific MCC.”

Further, Reason Magaizne’s J.D. Tuccile reported that a Discover Card representative emailed him to say, “To continue alignment and interoperability with the industry, Discover is removing the new merchant category code identified as MCC 5723 from our April 23.1 Network Release.”


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