Visa joins Mastercard in AmEx to categorize gun store sales: NPR

Visa is joining Mastercard and American Express in a plan to separate sales at gun stores, a change gun control advocates see as a win.

Jenny Kane / AP

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Jenny Kane / AP

Visa is joining Mastercard and American Express in a plan to separate sales at gun stores, a change gun control advocates say is a win.

Jenny Kane / AP

NEW YORK – Visa Inc. said on Saturday that it plans to begin separately sorting out sales at gun stores, a big win for gun control advocates. who say it will help better track suspicious spikes in gun sales that could be the prelude to a mass shooting.

But the decision by Visa, the world’s largest payment processor, is likely to incite the fury of gun rights advocates and gun lobbyists, who have argued that the Classifying gun sales would flag an industry unfairly when most sales don’t result in mass shootings. It joins Mastercard and American Express, which also said they plan to continue with the gun store sales classification.

Visa said it would adopt a new International Organization for Standardization merchant code for gun sales, announced on Friday. Until Friday, gun store sales are considered “general merchandise.”

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will take the next steps, while ensuring we protect all legitimate commerce on the Visa network against its longstanding rules. us,” the payment processor said in a statement.

The adoption of Visa is significant as the largest payment network, and with Mastercard and AmeEx, there is likely to be pressure on banks and card issuers to adopt the standard. Visa acts as a middleman between merchants and banks, and the banks will decide if they allow sales at gun stores to happen on their issued cards.

Gun control advocates have won significant victories on this front in recent weeks. New York City officials and pension funds have pressured ISO and banks to adopt the rule.

Two of the country’s largest public pension funds, in California and New York, have urged the country’s largest credit card companies to set up special sales codes for gun-related transactions. can flag suspicious transactions or easily track how guns and ammunition are sold.

Most purchases have some sort of classification

Merchant category codes now exist for almost any form of purchase, including those made at supermarkets, clothing stores, coffee shops, and many other retailers.

“When you buy airline tickets or pay for groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. Usually, we apply the same policies to other retailers. gun and ammunition stores,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who blamed the proliferation of guns for the deadly violence in his city. .

The city’s curator of accounting, Brad Lander, said it makes moral and financial sense as a tool to reverse gun violence.

“Unfortunately, the credit card companies didn’t support this simple, practical, life-saving tool. It’s about time they did,” Lander said recently, before Visa and Other companies followed suit.

Lander is a trustee of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System, and the Board of Education Retirement System – jointly owning 667,200 shares in American Express worth approximately 92 .49 million USD; 1.1 million shares in MasterCard worth about $347.59 million; and 1.85 million Visa shares worth about $363.86 million.

Pension funds and gun control advocates argue that creating commercial catalog codes for independent gun and ammunition stores can aid in the fight against gun violence. A week before the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died after a gunman opened fire in 2016, the attacker used a credit card to buy guns and ammunition. worth more than $26,000, including exclusive purchases. gun dealer.

Critics of the move say it doesn’t track what was purchased

Gun rights advocates argue that tracking sales at gun stores unfairly targets legitimate gun purchases, since the merchant code only tracks the type of seller the tag is selling to. credit or debit card is used, not the actual items purchased. The sale of a gun safe, worth thousands of dollars and an item considered part of responsible gun ownership, can be considered a major purchase at a gun store.

Lars Dalseide, spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

Over the years, public pension funds have used their broad portfolios to influence public policy and markets.

The California Teachers Fund, the second-largest pension fund in the country, has long targeted the gun industry. It divested from gun manufacturers and sought to convince some retailers to sell guns.

Four years ago, the teachers fund made guns a major initiative. It calls for background checks and urges retailers to “monitor for irregularities at the point of sale, record all firearm sales, check stockpiles regularly, and proactively support enforcement.” law.”

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