Kentucky, Utah working on credit-card privacy bills; Colorado eyes merchant codes

Kentucky House Bill 357 was passed by an overwhelming margin Feb. 21 in the House Banking and Finance Committee.

HB 357 prohibits the use of firearm/ammunition specific merchant category codes by payment processors. This is an important protection for gun owners, protecting private purchasing information from abuse by third parties. For more information, click here.

The bill is championed by Rep. Derek Lewis (R, H-90) and co-sponsored by Banking and Finance Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Meredith (R, H-19) and has been sent to the House floor for consideration.

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In Utah on Feb. 20, House Bill 406 was passed out of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Standing Committee and is eligible for a vote on the Senate floor. This legislation would prohibit the use of merchant category codes by payment processors to identify firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition purchases.

Meanwhile in Colorado, Senate Bill 24-066, legislation requiring the use of merchant category codes by payment processors to identify firearm, firearm accessories, and ammunition purchases, passes the State Senate and now heads to the State House.

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In the Fall of 2022, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved a Merchant Category Code (MCC) for firearm retailers. MCCs are used by payment processors (like Visa and Mastercard) and other financial services companies to categorize transactions. MCCs enable payment processors and banks to identify, monitor, and collect data on certain types of transactions. Before the ISO decision, firearm retailers fell under the MCC for sporting goods stores or miscellaneous retail.

Collecting firearm retailer financial transaction data amounts to surveillance and registration of law-abiding gun owners. Those promoting this scheme are in favor of firearm and gun owner registrations. Therefore, it should be assumed that the goal of this program is to share all collected firearm retailer MCC data with government authorities and potentially private third parties that may include gun control organizations and anti-gun researchers.

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