New Gun Store Tracking Code Deputizes Private Firms To Do Government’s Bidding
Government officials continue deputizing private businesses to implement restrictive policies that can’t win traction through the political process or are forbidden by the Constitution. The latest target is gun rights.
The newest development comes in the form of a specific merchant category code for retailers of firearms and ammunition, breaking them out from the broader category of specialty retailers in which they were previously included. The code makes credit card purchases from such businesses much easier to track and potentially exposes buyers and sellers to harassment.
The new code is touted as an anti-crime measure, but its advocates don’t specify how tagging all transactions by associated vendors will identify suspicious activity.
“Amalgamated Bank announced that its application to the International Standards Organization for a new merchant category code (MCC) for gun and ammunition stores was approved,” the New York-based financial institution announced September 9. “This code is the key to creating new tools that all financial institutions must now use to begin detecting and reporting suspicious activity associated with gun trafficking and mass shootings to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the government agency charged with safeguarding the financial system from illicit use.”
Amalgamated Bank is more of a political operation that happens to process financial transactions than a financial institution with ideological leanings. “When you deposit your money at Amalgamated, it supports sustainable organizations, progressive causes, and social justice,” the bank boasts. So, it’s no surprise that its petition to the Geneva-based International Standards Organization was supported by similar calls from like-minded politicians. That includes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), Rep. Madeleine Dean (D–Penn.), Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and other elected officials, all of whom developed a simultaneous interest in how credit card companies identify vendors.
“Mass shooters have repeatedly financed deadly massacres using credit cards, and Bank CEOs need to step up to save lives,” huffed Warren.
But the new code doesn’t come with subcategories for aspiring mass murderers; it tags all purchases, whether of rifles or beef jerky, and without regard for intent. That has industry insiders worried that politicians are again weaponizing the financial system to target activities they don’t like but haven’t been able to ban through law. That’s a game anybody can play.
“Some executives in private discussions have flagged concerns that it could lead to the creation of more codes that could be used to crack down on controversial businesses such as abortion providers,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Well, of course it could. It wasn’t th
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