Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert is calling on Congress to “immediately” review a new policy by Discover Financial Services that will allow its network to track purchases that credit card holders make at gun retailers.
According to a February report from Reuters, Discover will become the first financial institution to implement the policy, starting in April, and it is intended to assist authorities investigating gun-related crimes.
Discover’s announcement follows a decision by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in September to create a dedicated code for gun retailers. As Reuters writes, the ISO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, decides the classification codes for merchant categories where credit cards are used.
On Thursday, Boebert, a Republican who is known for her pro-gun stance, tweeted that Discover’s policy “is a MASSIVE problem Congress needs to address, IMMEDIATELY.”
Discover has also received backlash from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which posted an article in February by Larry Keane, senior vice president for government and public affairs at NSSF, claiming the new policy means “Discover is selling out customers using their credit cards at firearm retailers.”
“Discover is the first credit card company to fall in line with this “woke” banking credit card code scheme,” Keane wrote. “They’re just two percent of the credit card business, but they might want to use their own cards to buy new slogans. The old ones of promising not to sell out their customers no longer apply.”
Beginning in April, Discover will begin to track gun purchases made with their cards.
This is a MASSIVE problem Congress needs to address, IMMEDIATELY!
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 2, 2023
According to Reuters, the new merchant code will not show what specific items are purchased at gun retailers. Nevertheless, some Republican politicians are fearful that the new policy could violate the privacy of consumers who are buying guns legally.
“We remain focused on continuing to protect and support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy of cardholders,” Discover said in a statement to Reuters in February.
Newsweek has reached out to Discover’s press team for more information.
The decision by the ISO was praised by gun-control advocates back in September, who say that creating a new merchant code for gun retailers would help prevent gun violence.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement following the decision that it was “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.”
“But this is only the first step,” Feinblatt wrote in September. “Now it’s vital that merchants and banks implement this code swiftly, before more guns end up in the wrong hands.”
According to a report from NPR, other large financial institutions have also previously pledged to start using the new merchant codes, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
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