Discover Card To Start Tracking Gun Purchases
Discover Financial Services will start tracking gun purchases at retailers nationwide this coming April.
Discover is the fourth largest credit card provider after American Express, Visa, and Mastercard and is the first provider to publicly state that it will start tracking gun purchases. The credit card company claims it will begin monitoring gun purchases to help law enforcement agencies investigate gun-related crimes. The announcement comes five months after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved a dedicated merchant code for gun stores.
Credit card companies have been under pressure from Democratic members of Congress to track gun purchases better. These members claim that assigning a different code to firearms sales will somehow help police solve crimes involving guns. They also claim that the data can and should be used for research into firearms-related crimes.
Although the codes will not show what exact guns the patron purchased from a federal firearms licensee (FFL), many in the Second Amendment community worry that these codes can be used to block the lawful purchase of firearms. Others fear that credit card companies will use the data to raise the transaction rates of gun stores, making it more cost prohibited to buy a firearm. Also, many others worry the data recovered will be used to create an anti-gun narrative by cherry-picking data.
These fears might not be unfounded. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department launched “Operation Chokepoint.” The operation designated gun stores as a risk for money laundering even though most, if not all, customers must fill out an ATF Form 4473 and complete a federal background check when buying an item from a gun shop.
Republican members of Congress worry that the data will violate the privacy rights of Americans who purchase lawful goods. Discover was quick to claim to Reuters that those fears were unfounded.
“We remain focused on continuing to protect and support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy of cardholders,” Discover said in its statement to Reuters.
According to Discover, other credit card companies also plan to implement the new codes in April. The company refused to identify which other card companies would start using the “5723 – Gun and ammunition shops” codes. Master Card, Visa, and American Express are mum on the issue and have not responded to media inquiries.
ISO, which is based in Europe, said the merchant codes would be available to card companies by the end of this month. Although available for credit card companies use, they are not required to use the codes. Each company is free to choose whether to adopt the codes or not.
Discover only has 2% of the credit card market in the United States, but the U.S. credit card market is so large that the company processes $191.2 million worth of transactions each year. Gun owners can significantly dent Discover’s market cap by canceling or simply not using their Discover cards. Boycotts have been a successful tool of the left for many years. Using the same methods as the left, gun owners can send a strong message to these companies that Americans do not want their gun purchases tracked.
Discover did not respond to AmmoLand’s request for comment
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.