United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- The saga of the new Merchant Category Code (MCC) for gun and ammo purchases has seen a good first step come from some state attorneys general, but perhaps the best news came from a credit card company.
You might recall that New York Attorney General Letitia James was among those pushing for the new code, and celebrated its imposition by the International Standards Organization. But there are forces at work other than that of James in this country: A letter, signed by multiple state attorneys general, is warning the credit card companies not to go through with the new code.
That is a good thing – if nothing else, pro-Second Amendment AGs will provide some layer of protection. It may come down to passing some serious legislation to address financial deplatforming, but we have a good start from the AGs.
The best news on this front, though, comes from one of the credit card companies. A September 13 blog post by Visa provides some interesting reading – not just on the background of MCCs, but also how that company views the situation at this time.
The Visa blog post is worth noting for a couple of reassuring notes. First, the post states, “MCCs do not give Visa or any other payment network visibility into product-level data, also known as ‘SKU-level’ data. When we process a transaction, we have no visibility into what items a consumer is purchasing — this is true irrespective of which MCC applies to a merchant.”
In other words, Visa is not going to know what you buy – it just notes “this purchase was made at a gun store.” So, at least in Visa’s case, if you decide to use a credit card, it’s not going to know if you bought a rifle, a bunch of ammo or accessories (like a new sight or scope).
Visa, though, went further, in the post, with comments Second Amendment supporters should take heart from.
“We do not believe private companies should serve as moral arbiters. Asking private companies to decide what legal products or services can or cannot be bought and from what store sets a dangerous precedent. Further, it would be an invasion of consumers’ privacy for banks and payment networks to know each of our most personal purchasing habits. Visa is firmly against this,” the post states.
Given that NYSRPA v. Bruen has, in all likelihood, provided the constitutional basis to strike down gun bans, at least for now, Visa is saying they won’t go into financial deplatforming.
“A fundamental principle for Visa is protecting all legal commerce throughout our network and around the world and upholding the privacy of cardholders who choose to use Visa. That has always been our commitment, and it will not change with ISO’s decision,” Visa’s blog post continues. “Our rules require financial institutions involved in transactions to evaluate and process all legal transactions. Our network does not allow any financial institution member to deny transactions for the purchase of legal goods or services based on which MCC they fall under.”
These comments seem very unambiguous on Visa’s part. Second Amendment supporters should, at the very least, thank Visa for making it clear. A thank you costs us very little, but could pay dividends down the road.
Despite that, corporate gun control and financial deplatforming are serious threats in the wake of the Bruen decision, and vigilance will be required on our parts to prevent backsliding. Another Sandy Hook or Uvalde could alter the situation drastically and greatly increase the pressure from the likes of Letitia James or Elizabeth Warren.
While defeating anti-Second Amendment extremists at the federal, state, and local levels via the ballot box is crucial, we will also need to support those companies that do take a stand against private-sector gun control so that we can defeat anti-Second Amendment extremism in corporate boardrooms.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.