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City officials ask credit card companies to track gun sales

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New York City officials has said they want major credit-card companies to create a code to track purchases of guns and ammunition to help law enforcement try to keep better tabs on criminals.

Officials with the city’s pension funds — the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System — along with Mayor Adams and City Comptroller Brad Lander said they are filing a shareholder proposal to that end.

They are requesting that credit-card companies such as American Express, Mastercard and Visa add a new four-digit “merchant code” that would classify gun and ammunition stores on individual statements when purchases are made.

“We are not leaving any stone unturned,” Adams said at a City Hall press conference.
“This is a matter currently under consideration by the cross-industry ISO organization. As we do with other MCC proposals and related topics, we are reviewing how it could be implemented and managed by the banks that connect merchants to our network,” Seth Eisen, a spokesman for Mastercard, in a statement.

“This will help us continue to deliver a payments system that supports all legal purchases while protecting the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders,” said Eisen.

Representatives from American Express and Visa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new code would help companies track when suspicious purchases are made and could help law enforcement even stop shootings before they happen, proponents said.

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