NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Credit card industry representatives have cleared the way for a new means of tracking firearm and ammunition purchases, a move that supporters say will help law enforcement flag suspicious sales and reduce gun crime.
Josh Meny sat down with Senator Kevin Cramer who led his Senate Banking Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the Bank Policy Institute (BPI), urging the organization to resist political pressure to block legal transactions and insert financial institutions into controversial social issues.
Senator, the International Organization for Standardization, ISO, based out of Geneva, Switzerland, approved new merchant category code, or MCC, for gun and ammunition sales at gun stores. And this would be tracked on Visa, MasterCard, American Express, has this been fully implemented just yet?
“It’s not fully implemented. But I’m sure it won’t take them long to get up and running with the implementation of it. And just to be clear, what ISO does this international standardization is important because of course, when you’re doing interstate commerce or international commerce, especially when you’re using technology like you know, the various tools that credit card companies use for online and all that, you have to have some sort of an international standard that everyone agrees to. So that’s why there is such a thing as an ISO, for example, or International Organization for Standardization, standards are important. You need to have the workability if you will have the infrastructure to work across national or international boundaries. The problem here, of course, is that the ISO has decided to create a specific merchant category, just for gun sales at gun shops, so to speak,” explained Senator Kevin Cramer.
Now, there are merchant category codes for other goods and services. What do you say to the argument that this is regulation within reason that would detect suspicious gun sales without impeding legal gun sales?
“Well, because anytime you start tracking gun ownership or gun sales, that means you’re creating a database of some sort. What’s the next step with that database? If people’s names, purchasers’ names, are on it? What’s the presumption here? I mean, the presumption that these gun shops, these stores are are doing something nefarious or malign? I don’t. That’s not my presumption. And if it’s so common, why hasn’t it been done for guns previously? I think there’s a reason and I just feel like this is the wrong time. If ever there was a right time, and why pick guns off specifically,” Cramer posed.
“But here’s the other thing that is suspicious, Josh, and this is what really, I think raises a lot of people’s concerns. There’s an advisory committee that makes these recommendations to ISO and on that advisory committee are MasterCard, American Express, and Visa, in the vote on this issue of a specific category for gun shops. All three of them voted no and prevailed in their vote. And so the ISO did not create this category. Then somebody appealed this decision. And the appeal was upheld. The no category for guns was upheld. And the ISO went ahead and did it anyway. And they did it at the urging of a bank in the United States of America, a very liberal bank called Amalgamated Bank that is known for its very left-wing political views and its political activism,” Cramer explained.
“The other thing that I hope happens is that we stop yielding to some of these international organizations. I mean, Geneva, Switzerland, nobody in Geneva, Switzerland voted for anybody in office in the United States of America. And so we shouldn’t you know, we’re the most prosperous country in the world. We are the largest economy in the world. We are where all these banks are headquartered. We should set the standards not Geneva,” said Cramer.