Visa, Mastercard, AmEx to classify gun store sales separately

Payment processor Visa on Saturday announced plans to categorize gun store sales separately, joining Mastercard and American Express, which have already announced they will categorize gun store purchases.

Visa said it would apply the new International Organization for Standardization merchant code to gun store sales. The new IOS code was announced on Friday. Previously, sale of firearms were labeled as “general merchandise”.

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will move forward with the next steps, while ensuring that all legal commerce on the Visa network is protected in accordance with our long-standing rules,” said Visa in a press release.

Visa’s decision marks a major victory for gun control advocates who argue that a separate category for gun store sales will help track suspicious amounts of gun sales that could potentially lead to a mass shooting.


Several Visa credit cards

Payment processor Visa on Saturday announced plans to categorize gun sales separately, joining Mastercard and American Express, which have already said they will categorize gun sales. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

But gun rights advocates and gun lobbyists have said categorizing gun store sales would be unfair to the industry given that most gun sales do not result in mass shootings.

Visa, which acts as an intermediary between merchants and banks, is the largest payment network. And with three major payment processors all opting to label gun store sales, there will now likely be pressure on banks as card issuers to decide whether they will allow purchases categorized as gun sales. firearms on their issued cards.

New York City officials and pension funds had been pushing the ISO and the banks to adopt the new gun sales code.

Two of the largest public pension funds in the United States, located in California and New York, have lobbied the nation’s largest credit card companies to adopt separate sales codes for card sales. fire arms.

However, merchant category codes are not exclusive to gun store sales, as codes now exist for almost all types of purchases, including those at supermarkets, clothing stores, cafes and other retailers.


Gun sales

Smith and Wesson handguns are displayed during the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 5, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“When you buy a plane ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for these retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun stores and ammunition,” said New York Democratic Mayor Eric. said Adams.

Gun control advocates say the merchants’ code for stand-alone gun and ammunition retailers could curb gun violence. A week before the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the shooter purchased more than $26,000 in guns and ammunition using credit cards.

However, gun rights advocates dispute that tracking gun store sales would target legal gun purchases, as merchant codes only indicate the type of merchant where the gun card credit or debit is used, not the specific items. Purchasing a gun safe, for example, could be considered a major purchase at a gun store since the item can be purchased for thousands of dollars. But a gun safe is a product considered part of responsible possession of firearms.

Arizona gun store sign

Signage for the Firearms Unknown Guns & Ammo gun store in Yuma, Arizona on June 2, 2022. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images) (Getty Images)


“The [industry‚Äôs] The move to create a gun-specific code is nothing more than a capitulation to politicians and anti-gun activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans, one transaction at a time.” National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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