A late session push resulted in the passage of a bill that would require credit card companies to assign a unique tracking code to gun and ammunition dealers in New York state.

The bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, say this is a way of tracking credit card purchases that are currently not well documented, while working to address gun crime.

Opponents insist that introducing this type of regulation is an attack on lawful gun owners.

Hudson Munoz, executive director of Guns Down America, told Spectrum News 1 that there is a practical purpose to creating a code for credit card companies to track firearm purchases. Merchant Category Codes classify businesses by the types of products they sell, and Munoz said firearm purchases from gun and ammunition dealers are not being tracked in a cohesive way.

“Previously it could have been sporting goods, miscellaneous,” he said.

He argued that use of the code is in line with other industries.

“It’s valuable in its own right to fill that gap by codifying gun stores as such,” he said.

There is also a public safety element to it as well.

Part of that, he said, involves addressing cases where credit card information is stolen and used to purchase firearms.

The other hopes to help law enforcement connect investigative dots in an effort to reduce the risk of mass shootings. Munoz cited the 2017 Las Vegas music festival shooting as well as the 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting as examples of cases where credit card purchases played a significant role.

“The shooters in those cases opened new lines of credit or displayed a sudden surge in credit utilization in gun stores,” he said.

Republicans and other advocates have come out in force against the bill. 

State Assemblymember David DiPietro said New York lawmakers should be focusing on holding criminals accountable, but said that instead, this bill will violate the privacy of legal gun owners.

“All legal gun owners again will be harassed and gone after for doing nothing but upholding the law,” he said.

He and others have expressed concern that individuals who use firearms for recreational purposes will have their credit cards routinely flagged.

“If you buy a bulk piece of ammunition, you’re targeted, that raises a flag, but for no reason because a lot of people like myself are target shooters,” he said. "It’s not uncommon to shoot a couple hundred rounds in a day.”

When asked about these concerns, Munoz dismissed them as “misinformation” but ultimately acknowledged that while these arguments do exist, the bill is not designed to flag such activity.

“They’re not looking at individual transactions, they are looking for an overall change in behavior that raises their risk,” he said. “If somebody goes and has a known transaction, they’re a shooting sports enthusiast, they’re buying guns and ammunition, fine, continue apace.”

California has a similar law while other states have laws explicitly prohibiting this type of regulation. It is unclear if the law will face any challenges here in New York.