Right-wing media figures are fearmongering about the announcement that credit card companies will start separately categorizing gun and ammunition purchases. They have claimed the move will create a national registry of gun owners, constituting an attack on the Second Amendment, and blamed various government organizations for the new international standards.
On September 10, Visa announced it would join MasterCard and American Express in following the new international standard of categorizing gun sales created by the nonprofit the International Organization for Standardization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The decision has been hailed as a major win for gun safety activists, who have said it will help “track suspicious weapon purchases.” The new guidelines come following pressure from a group of Democrats in Congress, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), who drafted a letter to credit card companies urging them to implement the merchant categories in order to monitor suspicious purchases of firearms.
Predictably, right wing media have responded to the news with accusations of fascism and claims that Democrats pressured payment processors to make the change in order to create a registry of gun owners:
- On Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham claimed the move by credit card companies was part of a Democratic ploy to “target political adversaries.” During an interview, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), claimed he “would not be shocked if the FBI was involved in this,” and Ingraham implied that this new standard could lead to “other rights” being “put into some tracking system,” even referencing “church attendance” as a possible freedom that could be surveilled by the government.
- Steven Crowder baselessly claimed, “This is basically, effectively, the first step towards a gun registry,” and said the new guidelines were unconstitutional, which is why the Democrats pushed businesses to implement the categories. Crowder went on to claim that if you purchase a gun with your credit card “the next thing you know, you’re being raided like it’s Mar-a-Lago.”
- Fox News host Dan Bongino said on his podcast, The Dan Bongino Show, that the government is working to “disarm the populace” because “no tyranny, or fascist… or dictator, who wants to subdue a population wants to deal with an armed population.” Bongino also fearmongered that Democrats will continue to push for universal background checks on weapon purchases in order to create a list of gun owners. Bongino said to his listeners: “Do not buy a firearm with a credit card.”
- On his radio show, Fox’s Mark Levin said he was “speechless” about the new categories. He claimed if you buy a gun with a credit card you will now “be able to be checked.”
- Glenn Beck took to his YouTube channel to pose two unverified outcomes of the purchasing categories; either “they’re creating a national database,” or “they’re creating a separate category… so they make it impossible for you to use your credit card to buy any kinds of guns.” Beck also asked his audience “what would be next” for credit card companies to stop you from buying, which is not what Visa, MasterCard, or American Express are doing.
- Far-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec also recommended to his Human Events Daily listeners that they purchase their guns with cash. Posobiec called on conservative leaders to punish payment processing companies who are implementing the new standards and stated, “There needs to be actions on this, people need to be punished.”
The National Rifle Association issued a statement against the new guidelines, calling them “a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at a time.” The NRA spokesperson also claimed the new merchant category was just a way to create a “national registry of gun owners.”