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New Gun MCC Law Passed in California Sparks Debate

New gun laws in California 2023

The leading state for gun safety legislation is paving the way for the rest of the nation by requiring the implementation of a gun MCC — providing companies with what some allege is an invasive level of visibility into firearm and ammunition sales. Learn more about firearms-related MCCs and their short, contentious history. Then contact us to see how LegitScript monitoring solutions help prevent high-risk and problematic weapon sales online.

New Legislation in California Requires the Use of Gun Merchant Category Codes — Continuing a Nationwide Debate

Debate surrounding the existence and implementation of a gun Merchant Category Code (MCC) reached a fever pitch in late September 2023 when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1587, stating, “California will keep fighting — because gun safety laws work.”

Many states have split over the use of a gun code, some saying it can help curb illegal sales while others stating that it amounts to invasive surveillance of gun owners. In response to California’s new law, the NRA issued a statement that said, “[Our] legal team will be exploring and pursuing legal challenges to help protect [gun owners] rights in California and beyond.”

In 2022, major card brands planned to roll out a new nationwide merchant category code for “gun and ammunition stores,” but put their efforts on pause after some state legislatures passed laws prohibiting the classification. Now Visa, Mastercard, and American Express will move forward with implementing gun MCCs in California.

The Leading State for Gun Safety Legislation Is Paving the Way for the Rest of the Nation

Before the gun MCC was first proposed, credit card brands in the US categorized legal firearm and ammunition purchases with the MCC code for sporting goods or general merchandise. Amid a years-long debate, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved the new MCC code for firearm and ammunition purchases.

The Evolution of the Gun MCC

On September 9, 2022, the NRA stated that “[the ISO] announced that it would create a new [MCC] specific to firearm and ammunition retailers,” concluding with, “The inevitable goal of such a campaign is to convince banks and payment processors to stop dealing with the firearm industry entirely by claiming that it is ‘too risky’ of an industry to be involved with.” Many voices joined the chorus of disapproval while others supported the gun code’s implementation.

On March 9, 2023, Visa shared an update to its rollout plans: “[We’ve decided] to pause implementation of the MCC at this time,” stating that “[t]hese legislative actions disrupt the intent of global standards and create significant confusion and legal uncertainty in the payments ecosystem regarding this code and its use, including with acquirers, issuers, merchants and payment networks. ”

LegitScript Merchant Monitoring Helps You Monitor for High-risk and Problematic Online Weapons Sales

Are you a payment service provider, an acquiring or sponsor bank, or other payment processor tasked with monitoring your merchant portfolio or downstream for illegal guns, gun parts, and ammunition?

LegitScript Merchant Monitoring helps acquiring and sponsor banks monitor dozens of high-risk products and services, including problematic guns and ammunition. This ensures your downstream has room to grow safely amid constant changes in regulations and new products. Contact us for a quick strategy session.

Smelting words into subject matter expertise since 2020, Thea Le Fevre specializes in B2B SaaS Content Marketing. She believes in embracing innovation and produces AI-assisted content along with organically crafted content. Take a deep dive into her work for up-to-date industry news surrounding issues in trust & safety, payments risk & compliance, healthcare, and more.

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