Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik released a letter on Wednesday questioning the move to change a purchasing code that could make it easier for authorities to track gun purchases.
The change, made by an international regulatory body earlier this year, has been embraced by Democrats and supporters of stricter gun laws. But Republicans, as well as gun dealers and owners, have called the change an erosion of rights and privacy.
“I am adamantly opposed to this attempt to track the information of law-abiding gun owners and am calling out this attempt to infringe on our Constitutional, Second Amendment rights,” Stefanik said in a statement. “As Far Left gun grabbing politicians seek to further erode our Constitution, I’m working to ensure credit card companies are not aiding in their anti-Second Amendment agenda. I am demanding immediate answers to protect American citizens’ ability to exercise their Constitutional right to bear arms without fear that the Far Left is tracking their information or that this information will be used against them. In the face of the unconstitutional anti-gun agenda, I will always stand up for New Yorkers and all Americans’ rights.”
In a letter to credit card companies signed by Stefanik and fellow House Republicans, she points to previous efforts to create codes specific to firearm purchases being denied or appealed. At the same time, she raises concerns the change would place a burden on smaller firearms dealers.
"The ISO recently announced its unfortunate decision to create a firearm-specific code in apparent submission to the desires of liberal activists and politicians who seek to erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "Amalgamated Bank stated its intent to utilize software to flag allegedly suspicious purchases made by Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights and file these red flags with law enforcement. This sentiment mirrors public statements from a myriad of liberal politicians who see this action as a first step towards further infringing on law-abiding United States citizens utilizing their Constitutional right to bear arms."
But supporters of tighter gun laws have praised the developments, including the plans by Amalgamated Bank to use a new Merchant Categories Code for gun buys. The hope is the information can be used to stop potential mass shootings and crackdown on gun trafficking.
"Today marks a historic step forward in the fight to end gun violence in our lifetime," said state Sen. Zellnor Myrie. "I wholeheartedly applaud the creation of a new MCC for gun and ammunition retailers and am confident that with help from credit card companies, we have a new way to protect our communities through the tracking of suspicious transactions. I thank Amalgamated Bank for their steadfast leadership in presenting this application for a new MCC to the Committee, and thank the over 50 New York State legislators who joined me in calling for support of its creation. This will be a valuable tool against the scourge of gun violence and I look forward to seeing the universal implementation of this Merchant Categories Code."