Lee signs bill preventing credit card codes for firearms store sales

Published 4:13 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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By Jon Styf

The Center Square

Credit card companies and banks in Tennessee cannot use a separate code to designate sales at firearms retailers in the state after Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill into law.

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Senate Bill 2223 prevents banks and credit card companies from requiring firearms retailers to have a separate merchant category code to separate firearms purchases and protects financial records of firearms purchases from being disclosed unless required by law.

The International Organization of Standardization recommended that financial institutions begin using a unique merchant category code specifically for transactions at firearms stores in 2022.

But Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and a group of 27 attorneys general sent letters to merchants stating the changes would not be enforced, meaning no company made the changes in Tennessee.

Rep. Rusty Grills, R-Newbern, said in House discussion the law is necessary after a group of 43 members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury on March 27 attempting to get them to enforce the code changes.

Rep. Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis, said that he didn’t believe the law was necessary because no company was using the codes in Tennessee.

The law makes a violation of the merchant code ban up to a $10,000 civil penalty that results in an investigation from the attorney general.