Merchant Codes Show for Gun Owners It Doesn’t Pay to Discover

With Merchant Category Codes being used to trigger Suspicious Activity Reports, cash is king.

“Discover Financial Services, a provider of credit cards, told Reuters it will allow its network to track purchases at gun retailers come April, making it the first among its peers to publicly give a date for moving ahead with the initiative, which is aimed at helping authorities probe gun-related crimes,” the news agency announced last Friday in an “exclusive” report.

“We remain focused on continuing to protect and support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy of cardholders,” Discover told Reuters. “We were following the industry for consistent implementation.”

“While the codes will not show specific items purchased, some Republican politicians have spoken out against the move, arguing it could violate the privacy of U.S. citizens lawfully buying guns,” Reuters notes.

Not just Republican politicians. While two dozen state attorneys general have warned “the CEOs of credit card giants Visa, American Express, and Mastercard” against implementing the codes, much of that has been driven by the demands of gun-owning constituents. AmmoLand writers, as well as other gun interest publications, have been on top of developments since they first became known, as have all the major “gun rights” groups.

But if the merchant codes don’t go to the SKU (stock keeping unit) level and identify specific items purchased, some may question what the big deal is. For that, look to the proponents of the codes and how they have announced they intend to use them.

“Banks are developing technology to identify potential mass shooters, according to a CEO backing the push to get credit-card companies to more closely track gun purchases,” Daily Business Review/Bloomberg News (!) claimed in November. “Detection scenarios’ are in the works that, if triggered, would prompt banks to file a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.”

When law enforcement makes assumptions and suspects that someone may be armed and dangerous, what can happen was just acted out in North Carolina: A SWAT team lit up an unarmed man complying with its commands.

It’s fair to wonder if Discover’s risk management department has considered what the company’s liability would be should one of their “Suspicious Activity Reports” be the catalyst for a similar series of unfortunate events. Trying to excuse that by saying reports are made on other “suspicious” transactions doesn’t alter the fact that when guns are assumed to be prominent factors in an encounter, the danger level goes up.

DBR/Bloomberg’s ”go-to” source for its gushing press release masked as a news report was Amalgamated Bank Chief Executive Officer Priscilla Sims Brown. She has been touting for months what could also be described as Department of Pre-Crime “snitchware” to any media outlet that will lend her its megaphone. And relevant to note, per The New York Times, Amalgamated, majority owned by Workers United, “has aggressively carved out a position as the left’s private banker, leveraging deep connections with the Democratic establishment.”

As pointed out in a prior AmmoLand article, Workers United is a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate, which, per The Washington Free Beacon, “rakes in millions from Dem campaigns, liberal orgs.” And the SEIU, just to be clear, has organized rallies and marched in solidarity with communists.

A (disputed) quote about capitalists selling rope comes to mind.

For its part, Discover, at this writing, appears to be keeping a low profile about the new merchant category code (5723) on its press release page and on its Twitter feed.  Perhaps that latter forum will change as more gun owners become aware of its part in the unauthorized feeding of its customers’ financial transactions to the feds. And perhaps blowback will involve more than disapproving comments.

Because the reality is, any gun owner who does not cancel his Discover card is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Any FFL who accepts them is willfully giving up customer information.

In this case, and seeing as how the financial industry seems overwhelmingly committed to banking on disarmament, making purchases using cash seems prudent if one doesn’t want a transaction to trigger special government attention.

That seems like the kind of sentiment the far-reaching National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association,  could influence — if it wanted to. Combined with the warned actions by the above-cited attorneys general and support from politicians beholden to gun-owning voters, other credit card companies that “declined to comment to Reuters on what their schedules for introducing the new code are,” may see what a can of worms they’re needlessly opening.

Because it’s not like any of this will stop “mass shootings,” especially where they’re most likely to occur. Those serious about reducing those would do well to instead focus on so-called “gun-free zones.”

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“But if the merchant codes don’t go to the SKU (stock keeping unit) level and identify specific items purchased, some may question what the big deal is. For that, look to the proponents of the codes and how they have announced they intend to use them.”

They’ll modify the granularity of the data mined until they have what they want.

Isn’t that the approved method for boiling a frog?

Makes me wish I had one of their cards to cut in half and mail back to them.

Last edited 25 days ago by DDS
John Dow

Considering that (D)card trails the big three by a wide margin, you’d think they’d try to keep customers, not chase them off.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH

I have a (D) card (Democrat?), and it just sits in my wallet gathering dust.
From what I’ve heard (correct me if I’m wrong), if you cancel a card, your credit score takes a hit. So….don’t like the card’s policies? Don’t use that card, just retire it to the back of your wallet, or even shred it, but don’t cancel it.
Oh, and email the company and tell them WHY you will no longer use their card.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH

Interesting. Thx. Good info to know. But unlike a Certain Radio Host that touts for NO credit cards, I don’t feel the UNCONTROLLED urge to run up my card to its max limit, and then not pay it off. I have the plastic “just in case”. Example: this month I had to pre-pay my dentist for bridge work on my front incisors. Going to be a lot of work over a lot of months. Yes, it will be a massive hit to my savings account, but I’ll be able to pay it off in full at the end of this… Read more »


Clip, clip, clip -the sound of me cutting up my discover card.

Barrett 50 Cal

Good for you and our stance.

Barrett 50 Cal

Nope you get to keep your credit score. And it will show “pays as agreed” for the next 7 years. Of course if indeed you paid on time. I called last night to cancel. They had me on the phone for an hour and 10 minutes. Asking me to reconsider. Sorry you crossed the line I’m divorcing you. Make them bleed!!!


Go to Bass Pro and buy a big boat with your Discover card and let them think you just bought an arsenal.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH

Update: Just pulled out and looked at my (D)iscover card. It seems that this SKU tracking debacle is just another turd in the bowl. They’ve already been relegated to the back of my wallet – in sharpie – because they chose to NOT support Kyle Rittenhouse in one way or another (not allow private transfer of money from customers to defense funds?).
ANyway, as the saying goes, “get woke, go broke”. I just wish they’d hurry up about it.


Merely hang onto the Discover and don’t use it. Closing a card will drop your credit score by dropping available credit total without dropping outstanding credit debt driving up your debt percentage. Just be a drag on their database.

Last edited 23 days ago by StLPro2A

Every single person backing the Second Amendment should immediately transfer any balance they have on their Discover card to another card and notify Discover they have done so. I would also cancel my Discover card and make sure they know why, if I had a Discover card.

Get Out

IMOA, you could just use cash to purchase firearms and components. Why worry about it when it’s just as easy to work around the card. You can also cut up your card, let it expire and cut up any replacement cards.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH

Don’t activate any replacement cards.


“Because the reality is, any gun owner who does not cancel his Discover card is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”

Worse yet, you’re painting a target on yourself, dude. It’s like you’re volunteering to wear an ankle bracelet.

Barrett 50 Cal

Chop up your Discover. Advised them why you’re committing such a sin. I cancelled mine last night. Your credit score will not be affected- their pockets will bleed.