Senate Republicans demand reversal of credit card companies’ gun-tracking scheme

Sen. Roger Marshall (KS) is leading a group of 12 GOP senators in demanding that credit card companies halt their plans to categorize gun store sales separately than others, effectively making it possible for authorities to track gun sales.

Gun store purchases were previously labeled “general merchandise,” Fox Business reported.

Visa, Mastercard and American Express are the companies making the decision to make gun and ammo sales trackable.

“This decision, which is already being hailed by radical anti-gun activists, is the first step towards backdoor gun control on law abiding Americans,” the senators wrote to the company CEOs in a letter. “Any change that seeks to impact a United States citizen’s ability to legally purchase a firearm belongs with Congress, not payment networks, international standard setting organizations, or the financial institutions that some of you serve.”

A choice

Changing the categorization of the purchases would not necessarily translate to tracking gun sales in every instance, since gun accessories like holsters and gun safes could also be bought at gun stores. Republicans are worried that the recategorization is only the first step to declining to process gun store sales altogether.

They pointed out that the decision to change the categorization of gun store sales is not being forced on the companies, but is their choice.

“To be perfectly clear, your hand is not being forced,” the lawmakers wrote. “Creating a new merchant code for gun transactions is a choice being made by each of your companies. You are choosing the side of gun control advocates over the privacy and Second Amendment rights of millions of law abiding Americans.”

“You are choosing to insert yourselves into this political debate – which should only be fought at the ballot box and in Congress – and in doing so you are making clear that you are more than unbiased network operators seeking to maximize value for your customers and shareholders. You have become antigun activists yourselves, wittingly or not,” they continued.

Taking action

The Republicans want the companies to make a different choice that will not expose the gun show sales.

They made it clear that they will pursue action in Congress to force them to do so if they don’t choose it.

House Republicans also petitioned the card companies to change their plans about gun store sales.

The independent sales organization (ISO) that sets guidelines for processing transactions cannot force the companies to do what they want, Republicans pointed out.