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REPORT: Discover credit cards enabling gun retailer purchase tracking starting in April

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Discover Financial Services will allow tracking of purchases made at gun retailers starting in April, according to Reuters' exclusive report.

"First, Discover tracks your gun purchases. Then, Democrats take your guns," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tweeted Friday.

"They are coming for your guns little by little," Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) said in a tweet earlier this week.

"This is a massive problem Congress needs to address immediately!" Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted Thursday, using all-caps to emphasize "massive" and "immediately."

"It’s a ruse under the guise of stopping criminals from misusing firearms," wrote Larry Keane for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm industry trade association.
"Fortunately for law-abiding Americans who support the Second Amendment, lawmakers at the state and federal level are saying 'Not so fast,' and proposing legislation to block the tracking of such lawful purchases," Keane added.
"Close your accounts y'all," advised Lavern Spicer, a former congressional candidate who ran for election in Florida in 2022.
The controversial move makes Discover the first of its corporate peers to provide a hard date on implementing the tracking initiative, Reuters says.

The coming change follows an announcement by the International Organization for Standardization. The ISO reportedly decides on "classification of merchant categories used by payment cards." It approved launching a code specific to gun retailers last September.

The code, dubbed "5723 - Gun and ammunition shops," will not show specific purchases, according to Reuters.

"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.
From Democratic politicians' and anti-gun activists' perspectives, the change is positive in that it will "allow financial institutions to better assist authorities in investigating crimes involving gun violence in the United States."
Opponents of the measure disagree, noting criminals regularly acquire their weapons on the black market where credit cards are not a part of the picture. Further, opponents argue, the move represents a threat to cardholders' privacy.

"While the merchant code doesn't yet enable the kind of tracking of individual gun purchases many owners are concerned about, that concern doesn't come from nowhere, The Reload founder Stephen Gutowski told TheBlaze on Saturday.

"The whole idea of creating a specific code for gun retailers came from gun-control activists hoping to track and prevent gun purchases they deem suspicious," Gutowski added.

"Discover, Visa, and Master Card don't seem to be able to tell anything beyond that you spent some amount of money at a store that sells guns at this point. But that could change down the road."

Tracking law-abiding Americans' retail purchases at firearms shops is only the beginning of the "scheme," Keane says. He notes that Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown has a broader aim, which she revealed to New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.
That broader goal involves using "detection scenarios" that could prompt banks to file a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Such filings could be prompted, theoretically, for lawfully purchasing firearms, safety equipment, gear, or other items at a retailer identified with the 5723 code.

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