Credit card companies pausing special codes for gun purchases, West Virginia officials credit legislation –

By | March 9, 2023

FILE – This April 22, 2005 file photo shows the logos for MasterCard and Visa credit cards at the entrance of a New York coffee shop. Visa and Mastercard exit Facebook’s Libra project, a potentially fatal blow to the social network’s plans for digital currencies worldwide, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia officials are crediting a state law in light of news that Visa and Mastercard are halting their plans to implement merchant category codes for purchases from gun stores.

When news of the plans first circulated in September, it raised fears that the information could be used to effectively create a national firearms register, if turned over to the federal government.

Bloomberg reported that “after a series of pieces of legislation in state legislatures targeting the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant category codes,” Visa and Mastercard have decided to temporarily halt implementation of those plans.

One such bill was the 2004 House Bill. The text of the bill stated that the proposed merchant category code was announced “after 28 members of Congress sent a public letter to the network, pressuring them to adopt the new code,” and said the letter expressed “the government’s clear expectation that the network will use the new Trader Category Code to conduct mass surveillance of firearms, constitutionally protected firearms accessories or components, and purchase of ammunition in cooperation with law enforcement.”

The invoice will create “a record of a sale, purchase, return, or refund involving a payment card that is picked up, tagged, generated, labeled, sequenced, or grouped by firearm code assignment” protecting financial information in West Virginia.

It would make it illegal to refuse lawful transactions under firearm codes, to charge higher transaction fees, or to take other actions against customers or merchants under those codes.

This will enable customers to sue any financial institution or government entity for damages if their protected financial information is illegally disclosed.

The bill passed in the West Virginia Senate on Thursday, and the Senate has asked the House of Delegates to approve it.

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