Make your home page

Gun stores say new credit card rules could ensnare customers

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) — A gun store owner on Monday said customers are expressing concern over new credit card rules for firearm purchases.

Premier Arms CEO Bryce Curry said roughly 80 percent of his store’s sales happen via credit cards, with that number spiking in recent months.

“We have seen more people making purchases on a credit card or even splitting it up on more than one credit card,” Curry said.

Curry said he expects new credit card rules will reverse this trend. On Friday, the International Standards Organization approved new guidelines for credit card companies to process purchases of firearms and ammunition.

Those purchases will now be given their own category rather than being lumped under general merchandise. Visa, Mastercard and American Express, which experts say process a combined total of 98 percent of all credit card transactions outside China, they all say they’ll abide by the new rules.

The move follows efforts by lawmakers to address America’s epidemic of mass shootings. Unlike with guns used in street crimes, most mass shooters purchase their firearms legally. The Uvalde shooter bought two military-style rifles days before killing 19 students and two teachers. The gunman in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. spent $26,000 on guns and ammunition a week before the attack, in which 49 died.

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts praised the credit card companies’ move.

“These new merchant codes will help financial institutions track and crack down on suspicious and potentially illegal gun purchases,” Watts said in a statement. “Now we need all other banks and credit card companies to follow (their) lead.”

Curry said some of his customers already have voiced their displeasure with the move. He said about half of his sales involve items other than guns or ammunition, such as sights, scopes, holsters and other accessories.

“If somebody comes in and spends $10,000 on every holster known to man, then are you going to flag somebody as buying $10,000 worth of firearms?” Curry said.

Even within the firearm category, Curry said there’s a lot of potential for error. His inventory includes antique firearms that in some cases predate the Civil War. Those tend to command high prices and collectors often buy multiple such firearms. Curry said such collectors could unknowingly trigger some sort of action through such purchases.

Visa and Mastercard said in separate statements they plan to follow standard procedures to protect consumer privacy. They did not answer News 8’s questions about how the rules would be implemented.