NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office announced on Tuesday that Tennessee and Montana are leading a 24-state coalition alerting three major credit card company CEO’s about a potential violation of consumer protection and antitrust laws.

The Attorney General is accusing the financial companies of possibly monitoring and tracking firearm purchases. Recently, a Merchant Category Code was created for the processing of firearm purchases, and the attorneys general say that this creates a “list of gun buyers.”

Merchant Category Codes, or MCC, are used to identify the types of business in which a merchant is engaged according to Citi Bank. Citi Bank has a pamphlet from 2015 detailing its codes, which include transportation services, utility services, clothing stores, miscellaneous stores, government services, car rentals, and business services among many other codes.

Each category of services has individual codes for more specific types of sales. Some of those specific codes include codes for dating services, Disneyland Resorts, concrete work contractors, and wig and toupee shops. These codes do not account for specific items sold, rather, they simply list what type of company the purchase was made from.

The document from Citi Bank is included below for reference to what codes have been enlisted previously.

According to the attorneys general, this list that the MCC would create poses a risk that the information of law-abiding consumers “will be leaked, discovered, hacked, or otherwise obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

“Giant financial companies must not use their combined market power to circumvent our
representative democracy,” said Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti. “As Attorney
General, I protect the people of Tennessee from corporate collusion that threatens to undermine
their constitutional rights. Working together with my colleagues from other states, we will
marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to stop this abuse.”

The 5-page letter alerting the Chief Executive Officers of American Express, Master Card, and Visa, details the concern that the practice will not protect public safety, and rather the only reason that the creation and tracking of the data would only matter “if the institution was considering taking further, harmful action.”

According to the letter, these actions might include “infringing upon consumer privacy, inhibiting constitutionally protected purchases by selectively restricting the use of your payment systems, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted “disfavored” merchants.”

Additionally, a point was made in both the letter and announcement from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office that the new code that the companies are looking to adopt is the “result of transnational collusion between large corporations leveraging their market power to further progress toward their desired social outcomes.” View the full letter here.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see credit card companies cave to pressure from international
bodies and adopt this measure that will do nothing to improve public safety,” Montana Attorney General
Knudsen said. “Instead, it invites potential future invasions of consumer privacy and further
coordination between corporations and government agencies to erode Americans’ fundamental
right to keep and bear arms.”

The states in the coalition that have joined with Tennessee and Montana are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia.