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2nd Amendment: MC, Visa, and ATF

There are certain elements of the U.S. population who are hell bent on eliminating the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They will never, ever stop. Last week, information made its way to the public sphere about two different efforts going on to limit our rights. First, information leaked out of the ATF about a proposed “amnesty” period following the implementation of the ATF’s new rule regarding pistol stabilizing braces. Then we learned that the ISO had bent to pressure from anti-constitution lobbying organizations. The ISO has created a new credit card code for purchases made at gun stores and firing ranges. I never thought I’d use “MasterCard, Visa, and the ATF” in a sentence, but here we are.

MasterCard & Visa Merchant Code

The International Standards Organization (ISO) voted to create a special merchant code for gun stores. The code would be used when such stores process credit card and debit card transaction. Pressure to create said code came from anti-2nd Amendment politicians including Senator Elizabeth Warren and NY Governor Kathy Hochul,

Shorter version: MasterCard, Visa, and American Express can now track all purchases of guns and ammo.

For decades, gun stores and gun ranges like SharpShooters have been categorizes as “sporting goods stores” like Dicks Sporting Goods or Cabela’s. But now MasterCard & Visa purchases will get assigned to the new code and – VOILA! – the financial industry – and the government – can now track all 2nd Amendment purchases made at any gun store.

Of course they’ll deny it’s for anything nefarious, just like every anti-2nd Amendment politician – except Beto O’Rourke – says “nobody is coming for your guns.” They’ll say it’s just for industry tracking.

It certainly will be used to track industry numbers more closely, and that could be a good thing. For industry analysis purposes, it will be good to have our own category code. Then analysts can see the continued growth of the firearms industry on its own.

The fact that this new code comes under pressure from certain politicians no doubt means they will use the data for non-analysis purposes. Details on when and how this new code will be implemented are not available at this time.

The ATF Rule on Pistol Stabilizing Braces

In June of 2021, after a record number of public comments, the ATF finalized their “rule” regarding stabilizing braces. The rule says, “if it looks like it’s designed to be fired from the shoulder, it’s a rifle.” That is me paraphrasing, but you get the gist. If that “rifle” has a barrel shorter than 16″, then your “rifle” is now a “short barreled rifle”, or SBR.

SBRs are regulated just like suppressors, meaning that they fall under the regulatory power of the National Firearms Act (NFA). These items require an ATF tax stamp, fee, application, and waiting period.

What the ATF leaked last week was in reference to an “amnesty period.” This so-called amnesty would be a time period for individuals to register their “rifles”. These ‘rifles’ would be classified as SBRs. Owners would pay for, and receive the required tax stamp from the ATF. The ATF did not note how long said amnesty period would be. It will need to be a very long time. Here’s why.

Firearm industry experts do not know how many pistol braces have been sold since their inception in 2012.

The Invention and Approval of Pistol Brace 

In 2012, Army veteran Alex Bosco invented the pistol stabilizing brace and sent the design to ATF for approval. The ATF approved the pistol stabilizing brace for use on an AR15 pistol. Later, Alex Bosco formed ‘SB-Tactical’ and started producing and selling pistol braces for many other pistol combinations (AR-style, AK style, etc), free from NFA restrictions. This revolutionary invention was welcomed by many and pistol braces sold in huge numbers. 

Later, in 2015, the ATF disavowed the approval, citing reasons that the pistol brace, when shouldered, changes the intended use of the firearm and turns the pistol brace into a buttstock. The ATF later reversed this decision in 2017 after a two-year battle with SB Tactical to approve the stabilizing brace once again.

Estimates range from 10 million to more than 40 million pistol braces sold over the last 10 years. But nobody actually knows. Even if it’s only 10M, the ATF couldn’t process that many stamp applications in an acceptable time frame. It would take years.

But that’s what the ATF is planning. Firearms, including AR pistols and AK pistols, equipped with pistol braces will now be considered “NFA Items”. These items will be regulated just like a suppressor. So if you own such an item, and you don’t register it, you would then be a felon.

Will the Courts Defend the 2nd Amendment?

Here’s where the legal battle will be. Earlier this year, in West Virginia v. the EPA, SCOTUS ruled that federal agencies can’t just make up laws. Again, that’s me paraphrasing. The Supreme Court found that the EPA, as an administrative agency, doesn’t have the legal authority to make their own rules. That’s the responsibility of Congress. The same applies to the ATF for the same reasons. Specifically, the ATF can’t declare illegal after the fact something (like an AR Pistol) that was purchased legally.

But that’s what they’re trying to do. The ATF is set to begin enforcement of this “rule” and the “amnesty period” in December of this year.

21 thoughts on “2nd Amendment: MC, Visa, and ATF”

  1. Regards the credit card industry codes and tracking of firearms. Anyone with half a brain knows that this information will be available for ‘sale’, just like social-media information. So, the Feds will purchase this information. They will deny hamstringing the gun industry or gun owners because the credit card industry is not the government, but doing the government’s dirty work. Work arounds are cash, cheques and ACH’s (Automated Clearing Houses, essentially e-cheques). And lastly, just to piss in their soup, use a credit card to get a cash advance to put the money into an e-cheque or just slide it across the counter for a purchase. Just remember, keep the e-cheques below $600.00 per transaction (another Fed red-flag) and use multiple transactions for items over $600.00. I don’t know if Sharp Shooters is an ACH member, but you may want to mention it if you are. Otherwise, I’ll be using cash or cheque at your facility and encouraging others to do so as well. 80 million criminals were just created by Joe Biden.

  2. To get around the credit card coding, when ever possible by locally and go to the ATM and pay 💵 cash. We are smart enough to work around most of this BS.

  3. Questions about the credit card codes:
    1. Will places like Dick’s and Academy require firearms and ammo purchases to be purchased at a SPECIFIC register within their stores so that these purchases will get the code?
    2. Will customers be able to purchase VISA/MC gift cards with their own credit cards and then make firearm/ammo purchases with gift cards or do you think VISA/MC will prohibit firearm purchases on gift cards.
    3. If a customer wishes to purchase a Gift Certificate from a firearms retailer (let’s say using a VISA/MC), and then use that Gift Certificate to make a firearm or ammo purchase from that retailer, will there be a way for the firearm purchase to be “mapped” back to the purchase of the gift certificate by Visa/MC/Uncle Sam?

    • 1. Good question. Don’t know that yet.
      2. Yes. If/when this starts, if we’re not able to wiggle out of it, one might see an ATM or gift card rack in the store. Who knows.
      3. My understanding is that ALL purchases from a store like SSUSA would be under this merchant code, so even if you’re buying a t-shirt, it would come through on that merchant code.

      All that said, what we don’t know is if we will be forced to use that merchant code. Currently, on our receipts, there is no merchant code.

  4. For #2, if there isn’t a better way, you might consider partnering with a consumer finance company to make financing (essentially a store credit card) available to customers who want it. Companies like Klarna or Credova (who handles the consumer financing for Daniel Defense) are along the lines of what I’m thinking.
    For people who pay their credit cards off in full every month and prefer to maintain their privacy for 2nd Amendment purchases, it shouldn’t make a difference. This will also cause such customers to be more likely to purchase via your store versus other firearms merchants without such a capability. Some people would rather pay a little more for something and remain anonymous than to buy it online and have their purchases data-mined, recorded or worse. I think that there are situations where this type of thing (as awful as it is) can be less harmful to brick-and-mortar local firearms retailers than to those which do most of their business online.

  5. When the ATF receives your Amnesty application and photo of your firearm, they will compare it to the new ATF form 4999 and count the points. If your firearm has too many points they’ll then send you a letter telling you to fork over the $200 for a tax stamp or surrender your weapon.

    Keep in mind, virtually all pistols with braces exceed this point limit.

    The ATF really wants people with AR pistols to voluntarily declare them, and this is how they’re going about it.

  6. As far as I know, Dick’s no longer sells firearms/ammo. They caved and went WOKE, immediately after the mass shooting at the Walmart in El Paso several years ago. For this reason alone, I will NEVER step foot in Dick’s Sporting Goods. It’s incumbent on all of us to support our local, independent firearms retailers and let WOKE large chain stores wither away.

    • Yes, Dick’s Sporting Goods ceased selling firearms & ammo, and many Wal-Marts have done the same for the same woke reasons. Honestly, I’m very happy about that. When the big box stores get out of that business, that gives us small businesses much more opportunity. The bad part is that we don’t have a billion dollar lobbying budget.

  7. Amnesty : an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses.
    “an amnesty for political prisoners”

    TRAP WORD!!!! Admission of guilt…… Do not give the ATF any info ever!!!!!!!!!!!

    Not a single person should apply or even attempt this “amnesty ” bullshit!!!!


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