Visa and MasterCard have suspended efforts to initiate a merchant code that would highlight purchases of firearms and other related items Thursday.
The credit card giants, along with Discover Financial Services, halted the initiative just days after proclaiming a start date. Bloomberg reported the pause came after numerous bills were introduced in state legislatures that sought to target the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant category code (MCC).
A user on Twitter called @TheMagaKing reacted to the news, referring to it as a “big win for the 2nd amendment.”
All major credit card companies including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover will halt the use of codes to identify gun purchases. A big win for the 2nd amendment.
— TMK (@TheMagaKing) March 10, 2023
The plans to implement MCC in order to track gun purchases were first announced in Sept. 2022.
At the time, the initiative was covered by Andrew Ross Sorkin of TODAY, who alleged, “this is not trying to prevent people from buying guns completely.”
Others disagree, including Republican Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who commended the initiative’s pause while noting that it should not even exist in the first place.
“Visa and Mastercard came to the correct conclusion. However, they shouldn’t just ‘pause’ their implementation of this plan—they should end it definitively. Discover and American Express should do the same,” Knudsen said in a statement made Thursday. “This measure will do nothing to improve public safety while invading consumer privacy and inviting coordination between corporations and government agencies to erode Americans’ fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”
The Montana attorney general reportedly led a 24-state team in September that urged the CEOs of Visa, MasterCard, and American Express to terminate the plan, saying it may break laws surrounding consumer protection and antitrust.
“It’s extremely disappointing to see credit card companies cave to pressure from international bodies and adopt this measure that will do nothing to improve public safety,” Knudsen stated at the time.
A spokesman representing Mastercard told Bloomberg that the company chose to pause its tracking initiative after it came to their attention that several states were advancing bills pertaining to MCC.
Pro-Second Amendment Americans have stressed that the new code could be utilized to track Americans.
“If governments or credit card companies start to require certain purchase patterns at gun stores be reported to police, that could put a lot of innocent people under suspicion depending on how broad the criteria are,” Stephen Gutowski, a gun advocate who founded The Reload, reportedly said to the Daily Caller following the announcement.