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New credit card code for firearm purchases prompts letter from SC Attorney General

VISA, other major credit card companies are deciding whether to adopt international merchant code for gun sales.
Credit: AP

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has decided to join a coalition of 24 other states against banks and credit card companies who decided to use a newly adopted international standardized merchant code for the purchase of firearms.

Wilson joined a letter by the attorneys general to the CEOs of Visa, MasterCard and American Express stating their concern that new code creates a " 'list of gun buyers' and creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights."

“Why would banks and credit card companies need a separate code to process gun purchases, if not to possibly track and monitor people who buy them?” Attorney General Wilson asked. “Our states will vigorously protect the rights of our citizens, including the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”

RELATED: Visa to start categorizing gun shop sales separately

The Associated Press reported on September 10, 2022, Visa had joined Mastercard and American Express in adopting the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) new merchant code for gun sales. Before that date, purchases at gun stores were considered "general merchandise."

Merchant category codes, in general, are not new. Codes exist and can track almost every kind of purchase -- from supermarkets, clothing stores, and restaurants to travel sites, medical expenses and entertainment venues.

South Carolina, along with Tennessee and Montana, joined Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia in the attorneys general letter.

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