Credit card companies are implementing a system to monitor firearms purchases at California gun stores.

Major credit card companies are taking steps to comply with a new California law that will allow banks to potentially track suspicious gun purchases and report them to law enforcement. This involves creating a separate merchant code for firearm and ammunition retailers, which would allow banks and credit card companies to detect purchase patterns and potentially identify suspect transactions. However, this move has faced pushback from Second Amendment advocates who are concerned about the potential infringement on the rights of legal gun owners.

Gun control activists see the merchant code as a tool to help prevent gun crime, including mass shootings. They argue that it would allow banks and credit unions to flag potentially suspicious purchases in the same way they do for other types of transactions, such as those that suggest identity theft or terrorist financing. However, the credit card companies have clarified that the code would not provide details about the customer or the specific items purchased.

While several Republican-controlled state legislatures have banned the code, California has passed a law requiring retailers that primarily sell firearms to adopt it by May 2025. In response, executives from Mastercard, Visa, and American Express have assured congressional Democrats that the code will be available to retailers in California by the deadline. However, they also acknowledge the uncertainty and potential conflicts with other state laws on this topic.

Overall, the credit card companies are navigating a delicate balance between complying with state laws and addressing concerns from both gun control activists and Second Amendment advocates.  

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