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States split over gun merchant category code

Payments Dive

Major card networks Visa and Mastercard may have gone quiet on the topic of the gun merchant category code, but state legislators across the country have been busy taking sides on it.

This year, a number of states, including Texas, Florida and Montana, have passed legislation related to blocking use of a unique gun merchant category code that would apply to firearm retailers.

The language in the state laws varies, but they generally ban financial institutions from requiring a specific code be applied to firearms merchants, according to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. Other states that have passed such laws include North Dakota, West Virginia, Mississippi and Idaho.

The law in Texas, for example, gives the attorney general power to investigate financial institutions suspected of violating the gun MCC prohibition, while West Virginia enables consumers and merchants to take civil action, the NRA ILA said in a July post on the issue.

“Collecting firearm retailer financial transaction data amounts to surveillance and registration of law-abiding gun owners,” the NRA ILA post said. “Federal law contains multiple restrictions on the creation of a national firearms registry and the creation of this MCC should be perceived as an attempt to circumvent those restrictions.”

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