Discover Financial to reportedly track gun store purchases starting in April
According to reports, Discover will join a larger initiative to monitor when cardholders shop at gun shops.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express are all part of a large project to separate categorize gun shop sales. Gun control advocates have hailed the move as a victory. They argue that separate categorization of gun shop sales will allow them to monitor suspicious activity that could lead into mass shootings. Gun rights advocates, on the other side, warned that this could lead to unwarranted scrutiny of the vast majority law-abiding gun owners.
“Discover Financial Services (DFS.N), a provider credit cards, said to Reuters that it would allow its network to track purchases from gun retailers beginning in April. This makes it the first of its peers to give a public date for the initiative which is aimed to help authorities probe gun-related crimes.” Reuters reported.
According to the same article, the announcement of Discover was made after the International Organization for Standardization, which determines the merchant categories that are used by payment cards, approved the September launch of a code for gun retailers.
Discover stated to Reuters that it was focusing on protecting and supporting lawful purchases through its network, while also protecting cardholders’ privacy.
This tracking system has a notable feature. It monitors all purchases made at a gun shop, not just the items purchased. This means that supplies such as hunting gear or gun safes would count towards the same purchase category as purchasing firearms and ammunition.
Lars Dalseide, a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, condemned the transaction monitoring system in late 2022. “The industry’s decision to create a firearms-specific code is nothing but a capitulation against anti-gun politicians, activists bent on eroding law-abiding Americans, one transaction at time.”
“Discover does not plan to track firearm purchases by cardholders, or give that information to anyone. Merchant Category Codes are used for identifying types of stores and don’t allow us to see the product purchased. These codes are used by all major payment networks. We are not the only ones who use them. We believe that our customers have the right to use their Discover Cards for legal purchases. However, we also remain committed to protecting their privacy.