Credit-Card Companies Explore New Ways To Monitor Gun Purchases

Following the deadly Valentine's Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., banks and credit card companies considered blocking consumers' gun purchases as corporate America engaged in a marathon virtue-signaling session to prove to their customers that they too care about the lives of students being endangered by gun violence.

Of course, these bans would've likely been temporary. Banks could've quietly withdrawn the restrictions once the public furor quieted down. However, some banks and credit card companies are now considering a more permanent move that would transform them into foot soldiers in the deep state's push to create a register of all gun owners. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that some lenders are now discussing ways to identify purchases of guns through their payment systems. This would effectively transform them into tools of the intelligence services by monitoring virtually all gun sales at sporting goods stores and other merchants that aren't transacted in cash.

As WSJ explains, card networks like Visa and Mastercard can request approval for what's called a merchant category code - or MCC - a protocol that's governed by a Switzerland-based nonprofit. The code can be applied to gun merchants so that banks can flag new gun purchases using their credit cards.

The lenders are still discussing what types of merchants would receive the new code. Would it be all gun sellers? Or just sporting-goods merchants but not companies like Wal-Mart that primarily sell other products.


One bank has even had conversations with lawmakers about a bill to require merchants to report ALL purchases of certain "gun-related" products.

Currently, card companies, including networks and banks that issue credit cards, have little to no insight into gun purchases. Gun sellers fall into broader categories such as sporting-goods retailers or specialty retail shops. Big-box retailers that also sell guns are often assigned codes that include "variety" or "discount" stores.

An area of discussion, according to the people familiar with the talks: How far reaching a new MCC would be. This code could identify purchases made at gun dealers—but not at merchants that primarily sell other products, such as Walmart Inc.

Some talks have gone further. At least one large U.S. bank has had early conversations with lawmakers about potential legislation to require merchants to share information about specific gun-related products consumers are buying with their cards, according to people familiar with the matter.

As WSJ reminds us, banks have at times blocked purchases of certain items that they believed to be risky, or part of a legal gray area. They also act as the front-line of defense in monitoring payments for suspicious - possibly terrorism-related - activity. And in rare instances, banks have stopped doing business altogether with politically unpalatable groups like the government of South Africa during the apartheid era.

Citigroup has already started restricting purchases of guns using its credit cards to users over the age of 21 (because the last thing these banks want to see is the next mass murderer using a Citigroup-branded credit card to make a fatal purchase).

This would also open up a new can of worms, as banks would encounter similar problems to those facing Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies as they decide how they should handle all the sensitive user data they are collecting.

"A bank could say, 'We’re not going to do business with gun manufacturers,'" said Jeremy Stein, a former member of the Federal Reserve board of governors who currently is an economics professor at Harvard University. "But when it gets into using the information, you’re getting into the same issues Facebook and others had problems with."

A dividing line, he added, would be whether banks are monitoring transactions for criminality. "If it’s just a policy objective, even if I liked the policy objective, I’d think it’s worrisome," Mr. Stein added.

Divisions exist within the financial-services industry, which previously has resisted pressure to restrict purchases of controversial products such as tobacco.

"We don’t think it’s a good idea for banks to decide what products and services Americans can buy," Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan said at the bank’s annual meeting last week. "It should not be up to me, to us, to decide that. It should be up to folks following the laws and folks making decisions."

Banks have experienced some political blowback as a result of their relationships with gun owners. The American Federation of Teachers announced it would cut ties with Wells Fargo & Co. over the bank's relationship with the National Rifle Association, as well as with several gun manufacturers.

But not as much as they would receive if they went ahead with the plan to flag all gun buys. With nearly half of Americans admitting to owning guns, we imagine most customers wouldn't take too kindly to their shopping habits being recorded and sent to the government.


Jethro BullyBearish Mon, 04/30/2018 - 19:02 Permalink

They talk out of both sides of thier mouths.  Look at what China is doing with thier citizen ranking system.  It would be naive to assume that there isnt something already in place here in the US.  The banking system is part and parcel of the deep state.  It only takes an algorithm to track every purchase you make, create a profile on you....what you're eating, what you're reading, etc.  It's already here.

In reply to by BullyBearish

Arnold Layne Richard III Mon, 04/30/2018 - 22:16 Permalink

Exactly.  People haven't heard of paying a local business with hard currency or writing a local check? 

OK, so everybody would like to buy at the market price that on-line sites facilitate but who wouldn't pay the marginal difference between the on-line price and the local market's price in order to maintain privacy?

Sort of on/off topic but if draconian laws against ammo purchases are passed, then 1) citizens are not voting in favorable lawmakers; 2) buy reloading equipment for an additional $500 equipment cost and recycle your brass.

In reply to by Richard III

All Risk No Reward CRM114 Mon, 04/30/2018 - 23:17 Permalink

>>Picture yourself as a corrupt, power-mad politician...that's both difficult and tautological, I know.<<

Politicians are Bankster B*es.

They are clerks for the Money Power Sith Lords.

They don't actually do anything that gives the impression they are power mad.

Politicians are the #1 target of the surveillance state - it is how the Money Power keeps them in line.

Too bad the helots can't think.

In reply to by CRM114

All Risk No Reward BullyBearish Mon, 04/30/2018 - 23:15 Permalink

Debt-based money is operated on a balance sheet.

It is a finite zero-sum game.  Mass poverty is a feature, not a bug (and America's poverty is coming, all they need to do is tell us to pay back the debts and "poof, it's gone!").

How To Be a Crook

Poverty - Debt Is Not a Choice

Renaissance 2.0 The Rise of [Debt-Money Monopolist] Financial Empire

Debunking Money

Krugman (and each MIT economist professor) is a Goebbelsian propagandist as he covers the crimes of wolves with his fake sheep suit and lisp.

Krugman to Lietaer: "Never touch the money system!"

In reply to by BullyBearish

Dilluminati SWRichmond Mon, 04/30/2018 - 20:35 Permalink

It is the banks who want to seize your cash.  They want to seize your guns.  The banks are sucking up to the globalists who hate Americans and the 2ndA.  If your bank is rating you out you should get another bank.

So Citi and Bank of America and the rest of the cunts.. fuck them!!

Remember this if things get salty my friends, the banks made it very very clear they hated freedom, America, and at the very beginning had only designs to seize your guns and money.

In reply to by SWRichmond

glenlloyd Dilluminati Mon, 04/30/2018 - 23:33 Permalink

And is it any wonder why I don't like cards. Cards are just a means of extorting more money from people via high interest rates. Anyone who lives using a card as a cash management tool is a fool. The only way forward is to sever your relationship with credit card issuers.

It's not even that this will push more people to BTC, I fail to see any reason why that would occur since BTC is not a substitute for cards, it's that it will push even more people into the cash market where your privacy is still somewhat intact.

Fuck card issuers

In reply to by Dilluminati

TeethVillage88s NoDebt Mon, 04/30/2018 - 18:40 Permalink

New deal was strike at rogue bankers.

William Jennings Bryan was strike at rogue bankers (populist, organized farmers).

Q: Is there a place for 'New Deal'?

Q: Is there a justification of 'New Deal'?

Q: Why did farmers & ordinary people (supporting William Jennings Bryan) in Midwest, West, South, support currency changes at all if the damn govt wasn't corrupt, if currency & banking wasn't corrupt, and if central banks weren't corrupt, if conservatism wasn't corrupt, if conservatism wasn't a unicorn in the 19th Century

Q: If Conservative Basis of Government, Business, Banking, Capitalism were all bullshit in 19th Century why would we 100% eschew the "New Deal" and Teddy, Hoover, Wilson, FDR... except for their apparent 'Fascist' support... why not support Anti-Trust for instance... support FTC, Demand SEC be given powers and be given forceful oversight against globalism?

In reply to by NoDebt

TeethVillage88s UndergroundPost Mon, 04/30/2018 - 18:30 Permalink

Heavy Accent - uh, what about public banking & sovereign money?  "Rules for Rebels" makes clear communist/socialist revolution and all mass movements require education of the many peoples in A) Finance B) Currency C) Capital Expansion D) Capital Investment E) Capital Flight F) Capital Human Flight (Skills loss of our country) ...just bullshitting I don't know what the hell it says... it is about fucking you in the ass and saying that someone else did it!

- Deflation of US Fiat Currency, no backing, huge expansion, no limits up to 40:1 proven leverage in 2008... Destruction is clear... World Reserve Currency has no Stewardship!

- Public Banking is oriented toward states or local government for their own benefit and direct usury back to their own economies

In reply to by UndergroundPost