State Treasurer Riley Moore today welcomed reports that Visa and Mastercard planned to halt implementation of a new merchant category code that would track consumers’ purchases of firearms and ammunition, saying it is a direct result of a bill working its way toward passage in the West Virginia Legislature.
“This is a clear victory for consumers and Americans’ civil liberties,” Treasurer Moore said. “The implementation of this new merchant category code would have created a backdoor national gun registry that could be used by the radical gun control lobby to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
“West Virginia once again led the way to push back against another woke attempt to undermine our values and way of life. Visa and Mastercard’s decision comes as our state prepares to complete passage of landmark legislation to ban this kind of financial-tracking scheme. Our action – and their response – once again demonstrates that when states use our collective voice in the marketplace, we can turn the tide against the woke elites trying to jam their extremist agendas down our throats.”
Last September, a panel of the International Organization for Standardization – a nongovernmental organization that develops a wide range of industrial and commercial standards – approved a petition by New York-based Amalgamated Bank for the creation of a new “merchant category code” (MCC) that singles out gun and ammunition retailers. Merchant category codes are used by credit card companies to identify the type of business in which a merchant is engaged.
Amalgamated Bank’s petition was supported by a wide range of gun control advocacy groups and liberal politicians, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Advocates for the switch are urging the nation’s major credit card companies to use the code to begin monitoring gun and ammunition purchases. If they flag gun or ammunition purchases, they could then notify law enforcement and share that data in order to investigate or make an arrest.
Treasurer Moore worked with West Virginia lawmakers this session to introduce House Bill 2004, The Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act, which would prohibit financial institutions from using credit card merchant category codes assigned to firearm and ammunition retailers. That bill unanimously passed the state Senate today. Once signed by Gov. Jim Justice, West Virginia will be the first state with this kind of law.
A Bloomberg story quoted a Mastercard spokesperson as saying the bills moving in states like West Virginia were the reason the companies paused their implementation of the new code.
Following its Senate passage, House Bill 2004 now goes back to the House of Delegates, which must concur in some minor changes to the language, before it can head to Gov. Justice for signature.