In a move that reflects increasing corporate-government surveillance and privacy invasion in the U.S. - and sheds light on how far political figures already have hollowed out what is supposed to be an untouchable right of free people to keep and bear arms - Discover Card (which boasts the third largest circulation in America) has emerged as the first credit card company ready to implement what we first reported here at MRCTV in September: a purchase tracking code for transactions at gun shops.
“Discover Financial Services, a provider of credit cards, told Reuters it will allow its network to track purchases at gun retailers come April, making it the first among its peers to move ahead with the initiative aimed at helping authorities probe gun-related crimes.”
An April Fool prank, this is not.
But is it really aimed at helping “authorities probe gun-related crime”, and what do the “authorities” consider “gun-related crime”?
First, let’s look at the implied idea that Discover Financials implementation of this new code practically will help “authorities” battle “gun-related crime.”
Even the left-leaning Politifact has admitted that the vast majority of “gun-related” crimes are committed by people using or possessing unregistered firearms. The site notes that the most recent study on this phenomenon was conducted in 2004 by Dr. Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research, and in his survey of prisoners involved with gun crimes, he revealed:
“In the 13 states with the fewest restrictions on gun ownership, 40 percent of inmates illegally obtained the gun they used, Webster said. Only about 13 percent purchased the gun from a store or pawn shop.
In the other 37 states, including New York state, 60 percent of inmates illegally procured the gun they used, Webster said.”
How utterly shocking. Surely, people with criminal intent are eager to walk into gun shops, use credit cards, get video-recorded, and wait to get their weapon.
On the other hand, here in the real world, perhaps criminally-minded people mostly go black-market, using cash, bartering, or stealing to get firearms. Perhaps, juuuust perhaps, government “prohibition” and all the sundry hassles politicians force onto law-abiding people matter very little to the dark-hearted.
Which brings us to the second consideration prompted by that first Reuters quote: what do politicians consider to be “gun-related crimes”?
If a person tries to “lawfully” buy a gun (that phrase properly translates to: “if a person tries to conform to all the unconstitutional and immoral mandates and requirements politicians claim that a customer and seller must abide, or else fear being arrested or shot by government-guns), and if the customer makes a mistake, or if a gun shop tries to engage in the other side of the transaction and makes a mistake, is that considered a “gun-related crime” under this new Discover Card paradigm?
How is it that in a nation where a free person’s right to keep and bear arms is supposed to be untouchable, so many of us have to think about obeying government diktats if we want to buy, sell, trade, or possess a firearm? Certainly, buying, selling, trading, or possessing an inanimate object is not an act of aggression, as long as there is no fraud in the transaction, right?
It seems to me the fraud is in politicians telling you that they are there to “protect your rights” even as they operate the government machine that continually breaches your rights – making you pay to fulfill its funding needs – and which expands its attacks on rights as a matter of course…
But the Discover gang seems eager to work with this deceptive government class. As Reuters notes:
“Discover said it will include the new code in its next policy and product update to merchants and payment partners, in April.
‘We remain focused on continuing to protect and support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy of cardholders,’ Discover said in its statement to Reuters.”
And, while some observers might scan this tricky corporate-government-gun-store-gun-buyer landscape and think that there’s nothing wrong with Discover telling gun shop owners that if they want to take the card, their customers will see their purchase at the store attached to a general “Gun Shop” ISO (International Standards Organization, aka International Organization for Standards) code, and that both the shop owner and the customers are free to disconnect from Discover, there appears to be much more to this – especially when one considers the fact that the vast majority of “gun-related crimes” involve firearms that can’t be traced to gun stores.
Alarms sounded for many people back in September, when, as I reported for MRCTV, the Associated Press’ Ken Sweet noted that New York City Comptroller Brad Lander lobbied hard for all the major credit card companies to adopt the ISO merchant code, that Lander believed the code would be a “tool to push back against gun violence” and that:
“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.”
As I observed at the time, Lander’s threat to withdraw nearly a billion dollars of pension investments appears to have played a big role in the corporate compliance.
Related: As Suspected, Large Banking Interests Prep the Flagging of Gun Purchases | MRCTV
Which brings us back to the question of why Lander and people like New York Mayor Eric Adams feel so strongly about this digital marker…
Perhaps it is because the data comes via a corporation, so, technically, the Fourth Amendment would be skirted should government “ask” for the corporation to hand it over. This is precisely how the feds can get our cell phone data, thanks to them indemnifying the carriers against our lawsuits if or when they hand those incredibly trustworthy feds what some of us might have thought were our “private” records.
And perhaps, as I mentioned in September, even though this won’t really play a significant role in government “stopping gun-related crime”, it will facilitate gun-confiscation, acting as a red carpet for so-called “red flag” statutes.
“…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.”
And, as I noted in a December 5 follow-up to the initial September piece, Jenny Surane reports for Bloomberg, via Daily Business Review:
““Banks are developing technology to identify potential mass shooters, according to a CEO backing the push to get credit-card companies to more closely track gun purchases.
‘Detection scenarios’ are in the works that, if triggered, would prompt banks to file a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Amalgamated Bank Chief Executive Officer Priscilla Sims Brown said at the New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday.”
In other words, this might be another vector of attack to go after the gun shop owners.
The practical effect of the Discover Card and ISO move will be to prompt more people to pay cash in the legal market or to go black market.
Because, as the rebels of the American Revolution showed the world, the principle of freedom already is being breached by current federal gun purchase mandates and many state mandates, and, eventually, people no longer will stand government intrusion into their private affairs. As the Sons of Liberty did with the East India Tea the British Parliament wanted to force onto them as their only choice, many contemporary Americans will not stand for such invasions of privacy. They will respond by tossing their Discover cards…
And holding onto their guns.
Related: VISA, American Express, MasterCard Will Begin Denoting Gun Sales In Their Own Records Category – Why? | MRCTV
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