New York Lawmakers Approve Bill Requiring Credit Card Codes for Gun Stores

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The credit card companies were ready to require a special UCC number for gun stores. They backed off, however, because of outcry from the public. A lot of people were uncomfortable having their purchases tracked like that.


In the aftermath, though, a number of states figured the credit card companies would try it again, so they started banning the practice in their states.

New York, it seems, went a different direction.

A late session push resulted in the passage of a bill that would require credit card companies to assign a unique tracking code to gun and ammunition dealers in New York state.

The bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, say this is a way of tracking credit card purchases that are currently not well documented, while working to address gun crime.

Opponents insist that introducing this type of regulation is an attack on lawful gun owners.

Hudson Munoz, executive director of Guns Down America, told Spectrum News 1 that there is a practical purpose to creating a code for credit card companies to track firearm purchases. Merchant Category Codes classify businesses by the types of products they sell, and Munoz said firearm purchases from gun and ammunition dealers are not being tracked in a cohesive way.

“Previously it could have been sporting goods, miscellaneous,” he said.

He argued that use of the code is in line with other industries.

“It’s valuable in its own right to fill that gap by codifying gun stores as such,” he said.


The problem here is that gun stores sell more than guns and ammunition.

Even a dedicated gun store sells accessories like holsters, safes, cleaning supplies, and a host of other products that revolve around shooting as a pastime. One could drop thousands of dollars in a gun store and not pick up literally anything you couldn't hand to a felon without issue.

Yet the Merchant Category Code will still say it's a gun store. That's because MCC data isn't based on the products purchased by the type of business itself.

Then we have the fact that a lot of guns are sold at actual sporting goods stores. If you change the code for these stores, then what you'll end up with are people being potentially flagged for a massive gun purchase when they buy a new bass boat or something equally stupid.

What's more, this measure will accomplish nothing to address things like violent crime.

This has been pushed as a way to address mass shootings, but mass shooters aren't doing anything different than what millions of other Americans do every year. They go in and buy a gun or two. They might buy another one a few weeks later, but they might not.


There's nothing in the purchasing behavior of a mass shooting that isn't a regular occurrence with regular gun buyers.

So what does this law really do?

Well, it invades the privacy of gun buyers, for one thing. 

New York is already hostile toward gun ownership as it is. Now, potential gun buyers have to consider that the banking industry is tracking their purchases on behalf of the state. That means many will start using cash or buying a gun out of state.

All of that is legal, it negates the intrusion, and makes the law less than meaningless except as an attempt to invade people's privacy.

Then again, tyrants are going to tyrant, and while New York might not quite be there, it's not for lack of trying.

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