In a move that might concern many supporters of the right to keep and bear arms -- especially those familiar with the growing trend of mega-corporations and mega-banks to follow the collectivist political agenda of ESG (“Environmental-Social-Governance”) -- credit card issuers MasterCard, American Express, and, finally, VISA, over the weekend announced that they will begin recording gun shop sales in their own unique category.
Ken Sweet, of the Associated Press, writes that VISA follows Am-Ex and MasterCard in adopting the newly created “gun store code,” issued by what is called International Organization for Standardization (IOS).
What could concern gun rights advocates is not just the fact that the IOS (aka, the “ISO”) is a Geneva-based non-profit started in 1947, in which representatives from over 150 nation-states’ “standards” bureaucracies set “standards” for numerous commercial measurements other than electronics and electrics-related products. What concerns them is much darker and more forbidding for the future of private market commerce.
The AP’s Sweet reports:
“Merchant category codes now exist for almost every kind of purchase, including those made at supermarkets, clothing stores, coffee shops and many other retailers.”
All well and good. But the AP article itself comes under a URL containing terms such as “gun-violence-shootings-new-york-city-politics,” and Sweet also notes this telling comment from NY City Mayor Eric Adams:
“When you buy an airline ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores…”
Leaving many of us to wonder, “Why?”
It’s one thing for private, free market participants to choose to adopt a practice that might make their work easier, make their customer relations smoother and quicker, or help their record-keeping and ability to restock.
But that’s private. That’s up to each seller and the customers to decide what they prefer. Why the comment from Adams? And why this?
“The city’s comptroller, Brad Lander, said it made moral and financial sense as a tool to push back against gun violence.”
Why would an agent of the government, such as the rabidly anti-rights Adams, or Comptroller Lander, mention how “we” should have certain “policies” in place for gun and ammo stores, or make the incredibly arrogant claim that this move credit card made “moral and financial sense” when those government employees don’t own or run gun and ammo stores?
Unless there’s something else afoot - something that not only sees gun sellers stuck with the already unconstitutional and immoral state and federal “reporting,” “age restriction,” “background check,” and numerous diktats foist on them, but also opens the door to much, much more.
Indeed, Sweet also writes:
“Two of the country’s largest public pension funds, in California and New York, have been pressing the country’s largest credit card firms to establish sales codes specifically for firearm-related sales that could flag suspicious purchases or more easily trace how guns and ammunition are sold.”
Ahh, things are becoming clearer.
And, guess what? Those pension funds are government employee pension funds, based in hard-left, public sector, union-packed locales.
“Lander is a trustee of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System — which together own 667,200 shares in American Express valued at approximately $92.49 million; 1.1 million shares in MasterCard valued at approximately $347.59 million; and 1.85 million shares in Visa valued at approximately $363.86 million.”
That’s right. This anti-gun government employee not only wants to see government officials somehow able to use private gun-shop sales records from credit card corporations, he literally helps control nearly a BILLION dollars' worth of total shares for all three of these credit card companies.
Which brings us back to ESG, and why so many pro-liberty people are sounding alarms about it.
We understand the vastness of government nets that use central banking, federal handouts, multi-national, supra-national organizations, so-called “non-governmental organizations" (NGOs) that get funds and staff indirectly connected to political-industrial interests, “regulations,” bailouts, and policy “steering” to “incentivize” corporations into the preferred political block.
This is a manifestation of the ESG for gun-rights suppression.
And, as Sweet reports, it casts a dark shadow over gun buyers and gun sellers, as well as anyone who believes in the sanctity of self-defense and private, voluntary market association.
The implication from Adams and Lander is some kind of coming imposition of government snooping or demands for sales records in exchange for “licenses to operate,” and such “flagging” carries huge ramifications:
“Gun rights advocates argue that tracking sales at gun stores would unfairly target legal gun purchases, since merchant codes just track the type of merchant where the credit or debit card is used, not the actual items purchased. A sale of a gun safe, worth thousands of dollars and an item considered part of responsible gun ownership, could be seen as a just a large purchase at a gun shop.”
But the practical problem of “the wrong item” being flagged for government is beside the point. The point is that, as the residents of Boston understood when the British imposed the Stamp Act, and demanded instant access to any locale or personal attire in order to check for said British “legal” stamp, it is not the place of any human being to DEMAND that you, or I, or anyone else submit to a search or to a demand that we carry some “identifying mark” like a stamp or ISO code. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written to insure that such vile government activity would not occur, and it specifically requires a judge, upon his or her determination of probable cause (many of us don’t think this is enough protection against government), to issue a public warrant citing the person to be searched and item or items sought.
This deft move by Lander and the international ISO bureaucrats not only stinks of ESG maneuvering -- wherein giant companies like the credit card corporations and the banks with which they are affiliated steer themselves towards pleasing leftist, woke, government “regulators” and work towards receiving the fascistic government rewards they can get, rather than trying to stand on principle and please customers – it also looks like another vector for states with gun-grabbing “Red Flag” statutes to target people for property seizure without trial or even an accusation of any crime.
As noted above, the ESG web is wide. Canadians already have seen Prime Minister Justin Trudeau work with banks to freeze accounts of people supporting last winter’s trucker protest. And the government fibers comprising it are becoming stronger all the time. They are sourced from the spider of central banking in virtually every western nation, and spread by politicians, media flacks, corporations that have decided their “bread” is buttered by bureaucrats and government, and, as we see in the case of Lander, public sector unions that hold incredible power.
The statist influence in our lives already is too big.
This news inspires one to wonder how we can break free.