Since the revelations of Edward Snowden, Americans have become increasingly aware that they are heavily surveilled, not only by their government but by private corporations as well. You have previously read about this concept that Your Survival Guy calls the Virtual Panopticon. Last week, a new layer of surveillance was added to the net, with the segregation of the records of purchases at gun shops by credit card companies. Previously firearm purchases had been accounted for in a similar way to all other miscellaneous retail purchases, or those of sporting goods. The addition of a specific code to track firearms purchases has raised the eyebrows of a number of states’ Attorneys General. Some have even written a letter of warning to credit card issuers to desist from reclassifying the purchases. AnnaMaria Andriotis reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Republican attorneys general of 24 states are warning Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and American Express Co. not to move forward with their plan to add a new code to identify when purchases are made at firearms retailers.
The attorneys general said in a letter that the card companies’ plan could lead to the misuse of consumer data and wouldn’t protect the public.
“Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike,” their letter to the three companies says. The letter, a draft of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, was sent Tuesday.
The effort was led by the offices of Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.
Offices of attorneys general were signing onto the letter until last night, with Virginia’s office joining this morning.
Visa, Mastercard and Amex use merchant-category codes, or MCCs, to identify types of merchants by the goods and services they sell. The companies said earlier this month that they would add a new code for firearms retailers, who have long been categorized under broader groups such as specialty retailers or durable-goods sellers. The new code was recently approved by an international entity that sets standards for the payments industry.
Gun-control advocates have pressed the financial industry to do more to help curb mass shootings, though it has been an uphill climb. They say the new merchant code could help identify suspicious gun sales.
Gun-rights advocates have long resisted such efforts, saying they could unfairly prevent legal gun purchases.
In interviews, both Mr. Knudsen and Mr. Skrmetti said they could launch investigations into the companies if they moved forward with the gun-shop code.
“We will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights,” their letter said.
Action Line: If your Attorney General is standing up for you, whether your Second Amendment rights or your ability to pay for heat and energy, count yourself lucky. Many of America’s Attorneys General ignored this letter, and have been ignoring the pleas of their citizens for years. Crime, inflation, and taxes are all some states care to supply to their residents. Instead of treating them like valued customers, they treat them like a piggy bank. Your Survival Guy calls these the Escape States. If you live in one, it’s time to get out. Start your search for a new home with my Super States, and click here to tell me about your move. If you need motivation along the way, click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter and I’ll push you to move your family somewhere where you can achieve your goals and live the American dream.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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