10 States and Counting: 2nd Amendment Financial Privacy Act

By: Michael Boldin



Ten states – and counting – have passed a bill called the “2nd Amendment Financial Privacy Act,” to nullify a gun control surveillance scheme in practice and effect.

More on that good news in a moment. First, some background.

Would you be surprised to learn that this gun control program has its roots in the IRS?

Same. We weren’t either.

Back in 2004, the IRS launched the use of something called a “Merchant Category Code” or an MCC, as a way to classify different types of businesses and identify the types of goods or services that a company sells.

Companies that accept payments by credit card are categorized with an MCC for their business type.

It was, of course, sold as a improvement for better tax reporting, and is still touted, as CNBC put it, as a tool to help “prevent things ranging from fraud to human trafficking.”

But never forget. When government and its supporters tell you “it’s for your safety,” it usually means “so we can control you.”

Soon, gun-grabbers figured out that a special MCC could be created for a business selling firearms, thus – another de-facto gun registry that the government could easily access. Some of the worst proposals call for using these codes to flat out ban purchases.

As NRA-ILA points out, the people promoting this are gun control advocates, so we shouldn’t be surprised at how they’ll end up using it in the future:

Those promoting this scheme are proponents of firearm and gun owner registration and advocate against firearm owners’ privacy. Therefore, it should be assumed that the goal of this program is to share all collected firearm retailer MCC data with government authorities and potentially private third parties that may include gun control organizations and anti-gun researchers.

After efforts to create a firearm-related MCC failed in recent years, a number of high profile politicians sent a high pressure letter to the major credit card companies in September 2022. And just one week later, the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) approved the creation of a new firearms-based Merchant Category Code.

Unsurprisingly, Everytown was thrilled, “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”

First step.

They definitely have more steps planned – and we know some of them. As NRA-ILA writes:

Amalgamated Bank said they intend to create a software algorithm that will use the MCC “to report suspicious activity and illegal gun sales to authorities.”

The New York Times explained how this firearms-specific MCC could interface directly with the federal government:

“Banks could then either allow [the flagged] transactions, or block them and file suspicious activity reports with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which would ideally also create a system to quickly forward that information to local law enforcement and the F.B.I.”

To the gun control supporters, of course, all firearms purchasing trends are dangerous, so we know where this is leading. And while people can still use cash for in-person purchases – or better yet, real money like gold and silver in some situations – neither of these are valid options for online retailers.

An article by Free Range American summed up the danger:

Watchdogs are concerned the banking industry has been recruited by the feds to use the coded transactions to create and maintain a database of gun owners that can then be accessed by the government. Indeed, it has been publicly stated that the purpose of the new code is to track “suspicious activity” related to firearms and mass shootings.   

Within months of the new MCC being announced, a handful of states started considering a bill called the “2nd Amendment Financial Privacy Act,” to ban the use of these merchant codes in a way that distinguishes a firearms retailer from general merchandise retailers or sporting goods retailers.

In other words, these states were seeking to ban the use of the newly-authorized code.

After just a handful of states started moving the legislation forward, the major credit card companies started backing down, one-by-one. Amex, Visa, MC, and Discover – all announced they were putting a “pause” on implementation just because a handful of states were considering and potentially moving forward with a 2nd Amendment Financial Privacy Act.

A MasterCard spokesman confirmed that the state legislation is the reason for putting this on hold:

“There are bills advancing in several states related to the use of this new code. If passed, the result will be an inconsistency in how this ISO standard could be applied by merchants, issuers, acquirers and networks. It’s for that reason that we have decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific MCC.”

The 2nd Amendment Financial Privacy Act was signed into law in six states in 2023: Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota, Montana, Texas, and Florida.

In 2024, even more states have been getting on board – with four more 2nd Amendment Financial Privacy Acts going into effect in the coming months: Utah, Kentucky, Wyoming, Indiana.

That’s 10 on the books – with more likely on the way soon.

This is clearly an early win for the states. Rather than waiting for the entire scheme to get implemented first and then trying to stop it with a lawsuit or legislation later, they found a path forward that creates problems for implementation, and put a stop to it, at least for now.

But let’s not overstate the win. This is on PAUSE, they want us to let our guard down so they can regroup and push again. But that should be a huge green light for 15-20 more states to get on board and ban this practice now so it never gets off the ground.

As Samuel Adams so wisely put it,

“Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance.”