Credit card companies to separately categorize gun store sales

Three major credit card companies said they plan to change the way they categorize sales at gun shops.

It’s a move some said could help stop the next mass shooting – while others told FOX 5 the change leaves them deeply concerned.

Earlier this month, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced they had created a new merchant category code for gun store sales. Previously, they were just considered "general merchandise." 

Visa, American Express, and Mastercard have now said they’ll all adopt the code, which advocates believe could help flag problematic gun purchases before it’s too late.

"There have been some egregious examples of individuals using credit cards to spend huge amounts on guns and ammunition in the days leading up to some mass shootings," explained Karen Herren, director of legislative affairs for Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.

Still, others – including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey – disagree.

Morrisey sent letters to all three credit card companies, citing "hostility to your cardholders that choose to exercise their Second Amendment right" and privacy concerns as well.

"Now you have a whole treasure trove of new information of everyone who might have purchased a gun or has gun related supplies on their credit card in recent years, and that’s not a very comforting thought," Morrisey told FOX 5.

In a blog post, Visa said many people are misunderstanding the change, and that these types of codes already exist for hundreds of businesses, including beauty salons and bakeries.