Global standards body approves new merchant code for firearms sellers


At a meeting this week, a subcommittee of the International Organization for Standardization approved what’s called a « merchant category code » for gun stores, a spokeswoman said.

The Geneva-based nonprofit’s decision has long been sought by proponents of tougher gun regulations, such as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats, including the mayor of New York. , Eric Adams.

It clears the way for banks that process payments from gun retailers to decide whether or not to issue the new code to merchants. The code would help monitors track where an individual is spending money, but would not show what specific items were purchased.

The codes were requested from the Swiss body known as ISO by Amalgamated Bank of New York, which calls itself a socially responsible lender and investor.

In a statement, Merger Chief Executive Priscilla Sims Brown said the codes will enable financial institutions to use new tools to detect and report suspicious activity associated with gun trafficking and mass shootings. , without hampering legal firearms sales.

« This action answers the call of millions of Americans who want to be safe from gun violence, » Brown said.

Some gun rights activists feared the new codes would lead to unauthorized surveillance.

Mass shootings this year, including at an elementary school in Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers, have fueled the long-running American gun control debate.

Several large US pension funds had submitted shareholder resolutions asking payment companies to speak out on the issue.

After the ISO decision was first reported by Reuters on Friday, a number of gun control activists and politicians called on payment companies to adopt the new codes. Several cited news reports of how mass shooters had purchased high-powered weapons on credit.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James wrote on Twitter that « credit card companies must now take the next step and report suspicious transactions on gun and ammunition sales as they are doing it for fraud and money laundering ».

A representative for MasterCard (MY) said that following ISO approval, « we are now focused on how it will be implemented by merchants and their banks as we continue to support legal purchases on our network while protecting privacy. and the decisions of individual cardholders ».
American Express (AXP)in a statement sent by a representative, said that when ISO develops new code, the company works with third-party processors and partners on implementation.

« We strive to ensure that we have the right controls in place to meet our regulatory and fiduciary responsibilities, as well as to prevent illegal activity on our network, » the company said.

Representatives for Visa (V) did not answer questions.

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