Recently, credit card companies were given the go-ahead by the ISO, or the “International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group”, to start categorizing purchased from gun stores seperately and tracking them. They are also being pressured by leftist gun-grabbers such as New York’s Hochul to do so.
As a result, those credit card companies are starting to fold to leftist pressure and do so, with Visa recently caving and announcing that it would start tracking gun sales and sales at gun stores, saying, in a statement:
“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules.”
Well, now that Visa has caved to leftist pressure, red state Attorney Generals have come out swinging in a letter, saying:
We, the undersigned Attorneys General, write to express our concerns about the legality of recent actions you have taken or are considering taking at the behest of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). As our respective States’ chief legal officers, we are tasked with protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens, defending our consumers from privacy intrusions and other abuses, and enforcing antitrust laws. Accordingly, we share our concerns and ask that you take immediate action to comport with our consumer protection laws and respect the constitutional rights of all Americans.
[…]The new code will not protect public safety. Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike. First, efforts to track and monitor sales at gun stores would only result in vague and misleading information. This categorization would not recognize the difference, for example, between the purchase of a gun safe and a firearm. Nor would it capture firearm purchases made at department stores, resulting in arbitrarily disparate treatment of “gun store” merchants and consumers.
Continuing, the AGs then went on to highlight the risks posed to the constitutional rights of Americans by the change in categorization of gun sales and gun merchants, saying:
More importantly, purposefully tracking this information can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate. Creating and tracking this data only matters if your institutions are considering using that information to take further, harmful action—like infringing upon consumer privacy, inhibiting constitutionally protected purchases by selectively restricting the use of your payment systems, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted “disfavored” merchants.
And generating a “list of gun buyers” creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be leaked, discovered, hacked, or otherwise obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.
It was then that they dropped a line that should be giving the credit card companies chills, as it opens the door for the AGs to start investigating these companies and levying massive fines:
We are further concerned that financial institutions that place their desired public policy outcomes ahead of the well-being of their investors do so in derogation of their fiduciary obligations.
Companies can’t do that. They have to put their fiduciary obligations to their shareholders first. If they don’t do so, if they put wokeness ahead of earning a return for their owners, the shareholders, they can be sued. Action can be taken to stop them and financial penalties levied. If the AGs follow up with words, that line could be the basis.
But there was another line too, coming toward the end of the letter:
Press releases from public officials make clear that the new merchant code was created and adopted in concert with various state actors, which may additionally create the potential for both civil and criminal liability for conspiracy to deprive Americans of their civil rights.
Companies can’t work with the government or at the behest of the government to deny Americans their rights. Then it’s just state action by a different name, and so the company can be stopped.
We’ll see what happens. But, in the letter, the AGs offered up two potential avenues for taking legal action if Visa and other credit card companies don’t back down.