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Everytown Applauds New Banking Merchant Codes To Crack Down On Illegal Gun Sales


NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statement applauding a decision this week by a subcommittee of the International Organization for Standardization to approve what is known as a “merchant category code” for firearms stores. This change, proposed by Amalgamated Bank, will better allow banks and credit card companies to report suspicious and potentially illegal gun sales to law enforcement.

“Today’s announcement is a critical first step towards giving banks and credit card companies the tools they need to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing trends – like a domestic extremist building up an arsenal — and report them to law enforcement,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “But this is only the first step. Now it’s vital that merchants and banks implement this code swiftly, before more guns end up in the wrong hands.”

“These new merchant codes will help banks and financial institutions track suspicious and potentially illegal gun purchases,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “It takes all of us to tackle our gun violence epidemic which is why we’re grateful for Amalgamated Bank’s leadership in this effort and call for all other banks and financial institutions to follow suit.”

Merchant category codes are used to classify different types of businesses by the types of goods and services sold. Until this decision, gun and ammunition stores did not have a unique code. Amalgamated Bank filed a petition to the International Standards Organization which governs these codes to apply for the creation of a gun store code. 

A gun store code is one piece of data needed for banks to identify transactions that may be related to mass shootings or gun-related domestic terrorism. This data would help banks and financial institutions report suspicious gun purchasing activity to law enforcement, consistent with their existing obligations to report suspicious activity related to terrorism financing and other illicit activities.