Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10)—led the House Financial Service Committee Republicans—in sending a letter to Amalgamated Bank. McHenry and Committee Republicans are objecting to the bank’s efforts to hijack our financial system to force companies to track law-abiding American citizens who are exercising their constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms.
Republican Leader McHenry also sent a letter to Acting Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Himamauli Das requesting information on how FinCEN will utilize this new data from the firearm retailer MCC.
“We write to you concerning Amalgamated Bank’s recent efforts to force U.S. companies to track those law-abiding Americans who are exercising their constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms. Your bank has made clear that it does not lend to firearms manufacturers or sellers, nor maintain banking relationships with businesses involved in firearms sales. While it is your choice with whom you do business, it is disappointing that you are actively discriminating against law-abiding Americans and businesses.
“Your efforts to force a divisive, progressive policy onto the entire American financial system is disconcerting. For more than a year, you have pressured the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create a new, firearms sellers specific Merchant Category Code (MCC). Historically, these businesses have been accurately categorized under Miscellaneous Retail Stores or Sporting Goods Stores.
“As you know, there is no fair or impartial way to determine from a transaction’s MCC whether a transaction is suspicious.’ The MCC indicates only that a purchase was made at a certain retailer; it does not provide data regarding what was purchased. There is a serious risk that this new MCC will be abused with every transaction flagged as suspicious.
“At a minimum, monitoring the firearms seller MCC is an overt attempt to chill the exercise of constitutionally protected rights, and poses a serious risk of circumventing important existing legal restrictions on the creation of a firearm registry. …"
Read the full letter to Acting FinCEN Director Das here.
Read key excerpts from the letter below:
“Dear Director Das:
“I’m writing in regard to recent changes to the Merchant Category Code (MCC) for firearms sellers. Recently, the International Standards Organization (ISO) announced that a new MCC would be created for purchases made at gun and ammunition retailers. As you are aware, prior to the change, firearm retailers were classified as either 5999: Miscellaneous retail stores, or 5941: Sporting Goods Store.
“To better understand how this change will impact law enforcement’s current authorities, I am seeking additional information from FinCEN. Specifically, I would like to know how FinCEN currently uses MCC codes and how FinCEN plans to leverage the new data from the firearm retailer MCC. This information should specify:
How does FinCEN use MCC codes to assist law enforcement?
How often are MCC codes added to Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS)?
How will FinCEN use this new MCC code to assist law enforcement investigations?
If the new firearms retailor MCC is included in a Suspicious Activity Report, how will FinCEN protect the highly sensitive personally identifiable information?
How many SARs filed in 2021-2022 included the term ‘MCC’, ‘Merchant Category Code’, or ‘MCC 5941’?
How many SARs filed in 2021 – 2022 include the term ‘MCC’, ‘Merchant Category Code’, ‘MCC 5941’ AND the term ‘gun’, ‘gun shop’ or ‘firearm’?”