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Elizabeth Warren urges banks to create new regulations for gun retailers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) called on credit card companies and banks to create a new code for gunmakers, claiming it will help better monitor transactions involving guns and ammunition.

The lawmakers asked several top credit card companies, including Mastercard, Visa, and American Express, to create a new MCC, merchant category code, for gunmakers despite pushback from the companies in the past. Warren and Dean argued the MCC would “save lives.”


“Mass shooters have repeatedly financed deadly massacres using credit cards, and bank CEOs need to step up to save lives,” Warren said after sending letters to several CEOs. “Financial institutions and payment networks, such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, can and should do everything they can to help law enforcement prevent some mass shootings by identifying suspicious gun purchases through the implementation of this new code.”

Dean said the regulations can help “better monitor suspicious activity.”

“By creating a new MCC for gun and ammunition retailers, credit card companies and financial institutions can better monitor suspicious activity like straw purchases and, in turn, help save lives,” Dean said. “Our nation’s gun crisis requires all of us to act, and I urge companies like MasterCard, American Express, and Visa to support Amalgamated Bank’s request for this code.”

The lawmakers cited the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting in which the gunman charged $11,000 worth of guns and other material to his Mastercard as an example of credit cards’ role in mass shootings. They also referenced the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in 2016 in which the gunman charged his credit card with $26,000 in guns and other materials and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting in which the gunman charged $95,000 for guns and other materials over 12 months to his credit card.


Credit card companies have previously rejected such codes for gunmakers, claiming it was not their responsibility to address guns.

Warren and Dean had 26 other Democratic lawmakers sign on to their letter to the companies and have requested responses from Mastercard, Visa, and American Express by no later than Sept. 14.

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