June 17, 2024

Merchant Category Code Legislation Heads to New York’s Governor’s Desk

Article Contact: Kaleigh Leager,

Why It Matters: New York Assembly Bill 9862 (AB 9862) and Senate Bill 8479 (SB 8479) are headed to the Governor for signature. The enactment of this legislation will allow financial institutions to assign merchant category codes (MCC’s) to retailers who sell firearms and ammunition, thus allowing these financial institutions to potentially track and/or halt purchases from these retailers. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) worked with the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council (NYSAC) to submit a letter requesting that Gov. Hochul veto this legislation.


  • The enactment of AB 9862 & SB 8479 will amend the general business law by requiring issuers of credit and debit cards to use specific MCC’s for firearms and ammunition merchants.
  • By July 1, 2024, each issuer must make the MCC for firearms and ammunition business available for processors. By May 1, 2025, each processor must assign the MCC for firearms and ammunition businesses to each dealer of ammunition and dealer of firearms.
  • CSF submitted letters of opposition for AB 9862 & SB 8479 while they were being considered in their respective committees in the House and the Senate and worked with NYSAC to submit a veto request letter from Gov. Hochul.

The enactment of this legislation will allow financial institutions to distinguish firearm retailers from other general or sporting-goods retailers, as well as allow for the potential creation of a list or registry of privately owned firearms in New York. Simply put, AB 9862 & SB 8479 targets hunters and recreational shooters by adding them, through their purchases, to a quasi-registry that is held by private institutions. Merchant category codes are specific to retailers, not to the items that are sold. If enacted, this legislation would inadvertently place consumers on a firearms registry (owned and operated by a private institution such as a bank) for purchasing items such as fishing lures, a raincoat, or camping supplies from an outdoors store, if that store also sells firearms and ammunition. Furthermore, the use of MCC’s to flag firearm purchases will potentially deter consumers from making purchases due to fears of being stigmatized or facing financial repercussions. Overall, while MCC’s play a role in regulatory compliance, their application in the context of firearm dealers and retailers can inadvertently impose significant challenges on both businesses and consumers.

Legislation like this is not novel to the Empire State. States across the US have had to deal with merchant category code legislation, but some states are fighting back and being proactive towards this invasion of consumer privacy. Previously this year, Wisconsin’s Governor vetoed similar legislation to New York’s, and states such as Utah, Kentucky, and New Hampshire, among others, have sought to proactively protect consumers privacy.

CSF and NYSAC submitted a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul requesting that she veto AB 9862 and SB 8479 to protect the consumers of the Empire State from discriminatory targeting by financial institutions and to continue to protect the lawful purchases of outdoor products, including firearms and ammunition in New York.


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