Credit Card Companies Move To Comply With California Gun Purchase Law

Credit Card Companies Move To Comply With California Gun Purchase Law

( – Last September, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB 1587, legislation that would require credit card companies to flag specific purchases related to firearms and ammunition, into law. It requires that financial institutions — banks and credit card companies — use a newly created merchant category code (MCC) instead of tagging them as “sporting goods” or “other.” The law went into effect on January 1, but the affected retailers have until May 2025 to adopt it. Credit card companies are now moving forward with the MCC to cooperate with the California law.

Why the New MCC?

Currently, gun and ammunition purchases are labeled ambiguously under sporting goods or other categories, which can be difficult to pinpoint. The California law aims to increase awareness of large purchases that may be concerning. This would allow credit card companies to flag suspicious activity and report it to law enforcement in the event that someone is planning a mass shooting or other tragic event.

According to a press release, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who drafted the legislation, said he did so because having the ability to identify “large purchases of firearms and ammunition” can help save lives and prevent future tragedies. Indeed, mass shootings are a regular problem in the US, with the Gun Violence Archive reporting at least 44 in 2024 at the time of writing.

Credit Card Companies Moving Forward … Somewhat

According to CBS News, credit card companies, which initially paused the endeavor, are now moving forward with making the code available. Blowback from Second Amendment rights advocates had resulted in a temporary pause.

CBS obtained documents stating that the three major credit card companies, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, would meet the May 2025 deadline set by California. However, that only pertains to the Golden State. According to the outlet, Robert B. Thomson III, Visa’s senior vice president, said that due to the “tremendous amount of regulatory and legislative uncertainty,” it would not be rolling out the MCC on a national scale.

Guns Down America, a movement for more gun control, issued a statement applauding California’s efforts, saying that many of the most significant shootings could’ve been prevented due to the perpetrators making extremely large purchases on credit cards prior to the tragedies.

Pushback From Several States

Naturally, several states are not on board with the move and have taken matters into their own hands. Texas, Florida, Mississippi, and other Red States have passed legislation blocking the use of the MCC, and there are several others that are considering doing the same. Lawmakers in these states claim it’s a violation of the Second Amendment and will not allow institutions to infringe on their citizens’ rights.

On the flip side of that, Colorado is one state that is considering following in California’s footsteps.

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