24 State AGs Warn Credit Card CEOs: ‘Consumer Protection, Antitrust’ On Table

Financial Deplatforming Just Got Closer iStock-458089183
A coalition of state attorneys general is warning credit card companies that specifically monitoring gun sales might run afoul of consumer protection and anti-trust laws. iStock-458089183

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A coalition of 24 state attorneys general sent a letter warning the CEOs of three major credit card companies that a recently announced Merchant Category Code (MCC) for processing gun purchases “is potentially a violation of consumer protection and antitrust laws.”

The coalition is headed by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, and was announced Tuesday morning in a joint press release. The two-page letter went to Stephen J. Squieri at American Express, Inc., Michael Miebach at MasterCard, Inc., and Alfred F. Kelly, Jr at Visa, Inc. Copies were sent to President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with several banking and financial leaders.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see credit card companies cave to pressure from international bodies and adopt this measure that will do nothing to improve public safety,” Attorney General Knudsen said in a prepared statement. “Instead, it invites potential future invasions of consumer privacy and further coordination between corporations and government agencies to erode Americans’ fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen. (Dave Workman photo)

In a brief telephone interview, Knudsen told Ammoland there is a “real danger” to the credit card monitoring effort. He acknowledged concerns among gun owners in Montana and elsewhere the scheme could result in a de facto gun registry.

He said each state has its own consumer protection laws, and this plan could run afoul of such laws.

“Giant financial companies must not use their combined market power to circumvent our representative democracy,” Attorney General Skrmetti stated. “As Attorney General, I protect the people of Tennessee from corporate collusion that threatens to undermine their constitutional rights. Working together with my colleagues from other states, we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to stop this abuse.”

The controversy began earlier this month when the three credit card firms announced they had adopted the new MCC. Pressure from anti-gun Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Penn.) also played a part, as earlier reported by Ammoland.

In their bombshell letter, the 24 attorneys general tell the credit card CEOs, “Press releases from public officials make clear that the new merchant code was created and adopted in concert with various state actors, which may additionally create the potential for both civil and criminal liability for conspiracy to deprive Americans of their civil rights.

“Social policy should be debated and determined within our political institutions,” they emphasize. “Americans are tired of seeing corporate leverage used to advance political goals that cannot muster basic democratic support. The Second Amendment is a fundamental right, but it’s also a fundamental American value. Our financial institutions should stop lending their market power to those who wish to attack that value.”

In addition to Knudsen and Skrmetti, the letter is signed by Attorneys General Steve Marshall, Alabama; Treg R. Taylor, Alaska; Mark Brnovich, Arizona; Leslie C. Rutledge, Arkansas; Ashley Moody, Florida; Chris Carr, Georgia; Todd Rokita, Indiana; Derek Schmidt, Kansas; Daniel Cameron, Kentucky; Jeff Landry, Louisiana; Lynn Fitch, Mississippi; Eric Schmitt, Missouri; Douglas J. Peterson, Nebraska; John Formella, New Hampshire; Dave Yost, Ohio; John M. O’Conner, Oklahoma; Alan Wilson, South Carolina; Ken Paxton, Texas; Sean Reyes, Utah; Jason Miyares, Virginia; Bridget Hill, Wyoming, and Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia. All are Republicans.

“The new code will not protect public safety,” the state top attorneys explain. “Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike. First, efforts to track and monitor sales at gun stores would only result in vague and misleading information. This categorization would not recognize the difference, for example, between the purchase of a gun safe and a firearm. Nor would it capture firearm purchases made at department stores, resulting in arbitrarily disparate treatment of ‘gun store’ merchants and consumers.

“More importantly, purposefully tracking this information can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate,” the letter states. “Creating and tracking this data only matters if your institutions are considering using that information to take further, harmful action—like infringing upon
consumer privacy, inhibiting constitutionally protected purchases by selectively restricting the use of your payment systems, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted ‘disfavored’ merchants.”

They further caution the credit card officials that generating a list of people who purchase firearms “creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be leaked, discovered, hacked, or otherwise obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

“Be advised,” the letter concludes, “that we will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights. Please keep that in mind as you consider whether to proceed with adopting and implementing this Merchant Category Code.”

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About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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Winchester1873

Why is it that only Republicans are defending the constitutional rights of citizens? Where are the useless Democrats?

Cruiser

The Democrats believe that the government gives them their rights and tthey will be given what they need. After all, they think they have all the freedom they need.

swmft

send them all to china

AZ Lefty

SO removing a business property rights is “defending” the Constitution

Wild Bill

What is “… a business property rights…”

Tionico

WHO is removing or attemting to remove what “business property right”? Do not those seling the “offensive’ items have rights to the free use of their own property, as in, the store from which they conduct their business? What about THEIR rights? ANd what about MY rights to make a fully lawful purchasefrom whomever I please, without a record/report of that transaction being forwarded to some government entity who has no more need” to know of that purchase than they do of my last murchase of skivvies. Or milk. Or fuel. We have seen state and county officials publish lists… Read more »

Oldvet

As in komiefornia data release !!!

Oldvet

Another way of SWATTING . like the gun control activists are doing to schools all over the country NOW!
Activation of RED FLAGS again

Last edited 13 days ago by Oldvet
Montana454Casull

Thank you Austin Knudsen for standing up for the 2and amendment community. Time to cut up credid cards and make gun and ammo purchases with cash . Credit card companies go full communist and Americans dump the commie basturds . Go broke assholes it will serve you all right !

OlTrailDog

Unfortunately, this is nothing compared to the challenges that are ahead with the coming big central government implementing a digital currency.

HLB

Yes, digital currency is the new way for government to control you and create all the new money they want on demand.

HLB

swmft

great way to do nothing, even block chain can be cheated, there was one at bit coin, it has been kept quiet but if it happened once …and a physical money will always exist in some form ,there are people who dont exist ask them……

Tionico

barter will never be quashed. My bag of apples for yuor box of nines. I will replace the dead clutch in your pickup for your hunting rifle and two boxes of ammo.

3%er

Tio, very good comment, and it could very well get to that point too.

Wild Bill

Brother, you are welcome in rural Texas anytime!!

Oldvet

Have acreage : Will lease garden plots for 10% of your crop !

Ope

Oldvet, can you imagine the amount of crop/livestock theft that would/will probably happen around the country, esp.in the South? I would probably just give a family as much food as they need if they only ASK!!!

Oldvet

Ope… Yes have been thinking about things I see left out in the open and live stock especially . The wild life population will not last long if things become that desperate . Livestock next logical target .

Greg K

Hey Ope, this is going to blow your mind. In 2011 I wrote and studied for a paper I wrote about Wolf ESA listing and delisting. Most specifically in WA State. On of the Environmentalists rally cries was that rustlers stole more cattle than the wolves would take. Total BS argument, right? Here’s what I discovered. Some year before 2010 about 5,800 cattle had been rustled in Montana. That’s on a different computer or hard drive, but I went and found this article for you. In the article it states that agents had returned 7,300 cattle in 2013, so it’s… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Greg K
Oldvet

Believe it is what the new world order is pushing .

HLB

I see the rich conservatives still use the rich liberals to handle their money.

HLB

OlTrailDog

Damn proud to be a Montanan today (excuse my tribalism 😉 ). After weathering a horrible period of democrats we finally have a few decent individuals at the helm. Now we need to kick Senator Testor to the curb. AG Knudsen has been in the midst of the fight on a number of important issues.

nrringlee

Benito Mussolini defined fascism as the bonding of corporate with government power. When government conspires with major corporations freedom is at stake. Look at the Wuhan Madness cycle we just endured as a nation. The feds have purchased billions in shots for Wuhan flu and now no one will take them. Mistrust is warranted when policy departs from science and reason. The best way to defeat this system is to overwhelm it with small purchases. I am heading to local gun stores today and will buy my wife a T shirt on a Visa and will buy a bottle of… Read more »

Vince

Class action lawsuits against the companies is a sure-fire way to end this nonsense.

Cruiser

They need us, more than we need them. “They are not the only game in town.”

swmft

we do need to set up a new republic bank and pull everything from the big banks, and let them see how much of the economy is held by gun owners

Ope

Dave, thanks so much for another well written article. Lots of great info. that we would otherwise not know.

StLPro2A

AG Eric Schmitt, Missouri, running for Senate to replace retiring, mushy, RINO, luke-warm, typical politician Roy Blunt. Two edged sword dilemma. Schmitt would be a greatly stronger Senator than mushy Blunt, but we lose him as a great AG in Missouri. Missourians want our cake and eat it too. Get out the ole cloning machine, whip us up another Schmitt. 🙂 🙂 🙂

PMinFl

That’s the way we feel about Ron DeSantis here in Florida. We don’t want to lose him.

totbs

Florida’s loss of DeSantis as governor, would certainly be a huge gain for the US as our president.

Cruiser

The only thing credit card companies have to offer is convenience, and we pay dearly for that in high interest rates and their preditory late penalties. Cash is still king.

Last edited 14 days ago by Cruiser
swmft

still a lover of gsp&L ….gold,silver,platinum and lead

UncAl

“Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, an oath taken by all military and public servants. Kamaltoe Harris recites these words many times but has absolutely NO comprehension of who the “domestics” are!

Tionico

Little does she know she IS one. Has been for years.

Desert Rat

You learn something every day by reading AmmolandNews. I didn’t know it was unconstitutional to earn your living on your back.

PMinFl

The domestics come and clean her house, that’s easy.

totbs

The “domestic” to her are the household servants.

Oldvet

totbs … Wonder what race her domestic’s are ?

DangerMouse

I’ve noticed more and more online merchants starting to accept crypto payments. The downside is you better have a good merchant, because you don’t have the same kinds of protections you have with credit cards.

Ronnie

I JUST CANCELED 2 OF MY CARDS 5 DAYS AGO! SCREW THEM! EVERY 2A CITIZENS SHOULD DO IT TO ! THIS WAY THEY WILL LOSE “MILLIONS” OF $$$$$— WHO’S WITH ME? PLENTY OF OTHER WAYS TO BUY 2A PARTS & FIREARMS!

HLB

Yes, I have done that, but much of what I need now comes from on-line and every card I get to replace the cancelled one goes the same way. We need a conservative bank to do all this. I will put up $100 for 100 shares so we can start that bank. let us call it the BIG BANK.

HLB

jmb1911

Mr. Workman, Another very well written and informative article by you. This of major concern to protecting our civil liberties, and privacy. Your article mentions state actors also involved in the new Merchant Category Code and pressure from Sen. Eliabeth.Warren and Rep. Madeline Dean, both are progressive Democrats. To have the major credit card companies report to FIN CEN is them acting as an agent of the US government reporting gun purchases and related items using credit cards. A big privacy issue here. Criminals aren’t going to sue a credit card to purchase guns, that can go out the window… Read more »

swmft

arresting a few of these boobs would help warran comes to florida send her to stark and let her rot

Winchester1873

What?

swmft

the mass demoncrat pushing this bs elizabad

Last edited 14 days ago by swmft
Boom

Soooo…. Florida, Ae?

OlTrailDog

err….I’ll drink to that. Oh, yeah, I forgot I haven’t imbibed a drop since 1981.

Rob

Mumble that again for clarity?

swmft

just so you all know many of the no rights demoncrats come to florida when it gets cold, stark is where death chamber is , a little mistake would go a long way toward fixing things ….dam how did those bars become electrified…..wire violence happening again …pesky wires

Last edited 14 days ago by swmft
Ope

LOL

AZ Lefty

So these AGs will be fine with going after business’s who refuse to serve the gay folk

3%er

I didn’t see homosexuals even brought up in this article.

Oldvet

3%er… He is another one who needs to be totally ignored !

Wild Bill

I’m good with that. Just another form of misbehavior.

Last edited 14 days ago by Wild Bill