The company behind Discover credit cards will reportedly be joining a larger initiative to track when cardholders make purchases at gun stores.
Multiple payment processors such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have already joined a massive project to separately categorize gun shop sales. The move has been hailed as a victory for gun control advocates who argue that a separate categorization for gun store sales will help monitor suspicious activity that could lead to mass shootings. Gun rights advocates on the other hand, have warned this could bring unwarranted scrutiny on the overwhelming majority of law-abiding gun owners.
“Discover Financial Services (DFS.N), 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,” Reuters reported.
The same article went on to claim, “Discover’s announcement came after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which decides on the classification of merchant categories used by payment cards, approved in September the launch of a dedicated code for gun retailers.”
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Discover told Reuters in a statement, “We remain focused on continuing to protect and support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy of cardholders.”
One noteworthy nuance of this tracking system is that it monitors the total purchase made in a gun store, rather than distinguishing the specific items bought. So, purchasing supplies such as a gun safe or hunting gear, for example, would count toward that same purchase categorization in the same way a person would if they exclusively bought firearms and ammunition.
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In late 2022, National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide condemned this transaction monitoring system as part of a dystopian slippery slope, “The [industry’s] decision to create a firearm-specific code is nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at a time.”
Discover responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment after this story was initially published:
“Discover has no plans to track cardholder purchases of firearms or provide that information to anyone, nor could we. Merchant Category Codes are used to categorize types of stores, and do not enable us to see the product that was purchased. We are not alone in using these codes; they are used consistently by all the major payment networks. We strongly believe in the right of our customers to use their Discover cards for any legal purchase and remain committed to maintaining the privacy of their information.”