We Took A Deep Dive Into Weapons — Here’s What We Found

This image depicts a statue that commonly represents justice. This is for the Deep Dive Webinar Series.

In LegitScript’s most recent webinar, we took a deep dive into the regulatory history and current landscape of online weapons sales. Read further for a snapshot of the political climate surrounding the proposal to implement a new merchant category code (MCC) for firearms. Then, dive into our three-part Deep Dive Webinar Series.




New Weapons MCC Code Approved But On Hold

An ongoing battle over the categorization of weapons sales has stymied efforts at creating a new, dedicated merchant category code for gun and ammunition sales. Currently, gun and ammunition stores are categorized as sporting goods stores or general merchandise.

In a letter last year to the US Department of the Treasury, 14 US senators supported the adoption of a new MCC and wrote that “implementation of the new MCC code for gun stores could enable financial institutions to identify and report potentially illegal gun sales to law enforcement — helping reduce gun trafficking, straw purchases, and transactions structured to evade the mandatory multiple sale reports required by firearm retailers.”

However, the proposal for the new MCC code received pushback from several state senators, including Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis who said the new MCC code was “potentially a violation of consumer protection and antitrust laws.” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and others also crafted a letter stating that “banks should not misuse their power to hinder the ability of law-abiding Americans to exercise a constitutional right by creating de-facto bans on legal firearm purchases.”

Now, Visa, Mastercard, and other payment companies are putting a pause on the implementation of the new MCC codes.


What This Proposed Code Means for Weapons Sales Online

MCC codes are largely used by major card brands in their guidelines for merchant acquirers and other payment companies in order to categorize them by industry and/or types of products sold. However, some are concerned that categorizing merchants who sell weapons could lead to further restrictions on weapons sales, therefore impeding citizens' rights to firearms.

Florida State Senator Jimmy Patronis stated, “If we come to the legislative session and companies like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are generating these reports to create a chilling effect against the purchase of firearms, then I’ll work with the Legislature to pass a law penalizing businesses who are targeting the right to bear arms.”


The ATF’s New Rule and Problematic Products

In addition to the proposed MCC code, LegitScript’s Associate General Counsel, Andy Bayley, also spoke in the webinar about the regulatory history and current landscape of online weapons sales. Watch the full webinar to learn about the new regulations as a result of the recent final rule imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. You’ll also see a variety of problematic gun parts and exotic weapons LegitScript has encountered online.


Take A Deep Dive Into Our Webinar Series

Do you want to take a deep dive into other high-risk industries? Watch on-demand all three sessions of LegitScript’s Deep Dive Webinar Series. In this series, you’ll dive into the regulatory landscape of:

  • Cannabis, Marijuana & CBD
  • Vaping & Tobacco
  • Weapons