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Credit Card Firms Will Track Gun Sales To Help Stop Mass Shooters

Visa Inc. plans to start separately categorizing sales at gun shops, a win for gun control advocates who say it will help track suspicious surges of gun sales that could foretell a mass shooting. The move by Visa, the world’s largest payment processor, may provoke gun rights advocates and gun lobbyists, who have argued that categorizing gun sales would unfairly flag an industry when most sales do not lead to mass shootings. Mastercard and American Express plan to move forward with categorizing gun shop sales, the Associated Press reports. Visa will adopt the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant code for gun sales, announced on Friday. Gun sales were previously considered “general merchandise.”

Visa’s adoption is significant as the largest payment network. With Mastercard and AmEx, it will likely put pressure on banks as card issuers to adopt the standard as well. Visa acts as a middleman between merchants and banks. Banks must decide whether they will allow sales at gun stores to happen on their cards. New York City officials and pension funds pressured the ISO and banks to adopt this code. Large public pension funds in California and New York have been pressing large credit card firms to establish sales codes for firearm-related sales. “When you buy an airline ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who blames the proliferation of guns for his city’s violence. Lars Dalseide, a National Rifle Association spokesman, said, “The (industry’s) decision to create a firearm specific code is nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at a time.”


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