Sep 21 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and 11 of his Senate Republican colleagues sent a letter to the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express condemning their removal of gun store transactions from the “general merchandise” merchant category code (MCC) and instead creating a wholly new and separate MCC for gun retailers. 

The CEOs’ decision came at the recommendation of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which has no legally-binding authority over the affairs of American businesses. The Senators expressed deep concern that these credit card companies’ new policy would infringe upon the Second Amendment Rights of law-abiding American citizens in their letter. 

“This decision, which is already being hailed by radical anti-gun activists, is the first step towards backdoor gun control on law-abiding Americans… Creating a new merchant code for gun transactions is a choice being made by each of your companies,” the senators wrote. “You are choosing the side of gun control advocates over the privacy and Second Amendment rights of millions of law-abiding Americans… Your companies are the facilitators of the vast majority of daily financial transactions in America, and that gives you incredible influence over everyday commerce, and thus every American’s very way of life. If you are intent on abusing that influence you will leave Congress no choice but to intercede on behalf of our constituents and all of the law abiding Americans who will not stand by as large banks and the payment networks that serve them do an end run around their constitutional Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms…” 

The Senators concluded their letter by requesting answers from the CEOs related to what factors influenced each company to settled on this new policy, how the recategorization of gun sales backs up claims that the action would reduce gun violence, and if customers would be able to continue to use these companies’ services without discrimination, among other issues. 

Read the full letter HERE. 


Recently, the International Organization for Standardization, which is based in Switzerland, approved a new merchant category code that is exclusive to gun retailers. Although Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are under no legal obligation to conform to ISO policies, all three companies adopted the new merchant category code for gun purchases with their credit cards. Previously, gun purchases with these credit cards would have fallen into the “general merchandise” merchant category code.