Alabama Joins 14 Other States Protecting Gun Sales Data

( – Alabama became the 15th state to stop credit card companies from infringing on the privacy of gun owners by blocking them from adding those who purchase firearms or firearm-related items to a special database on May 6, after Republican Governor Kay Ivy signed SB 281 into law.

SB 281, also known as the Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act, bans financial institutions from “requiring the use” of a Merchant Category Code that would immediately flag a purchase as firearm related. The law also prohibits financial institutions from keeping any kind of “list, record, or registry” of those who purchase firearms, as well as prohibiting discrimination against firearms retailers.

Another provision of the law would allow the state’s Attorney General to investigate companies and institutions that refuse to comply with this law, as well as seek civil penalties against institutions that violate the law.

The legislation follows a new law in California that would let financial institutions “track suspicious gun purchases” as well as reporting those purchases to local and federal law enforcement agencies. Though the California law was signed in February of 2024, it will not go into effect until 2025. Major credit card companies, including Visa, American Express, and Mastercard, are planning to implement special Merchant Category Codes (MCC) that would allow them to tag transactions as related to firearms.

Gov. Ivy’s move to sign SB 281 into law was applauded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade industry association within the firearms industry, as a “necessary tool to protect” the Second Amendment rights and privacy of Alabama citizens. The Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the NSSF, Lawrence Keane, celebrated the law, saying that residents of Alabama no longer need to fear collusion between “woke” financial institutions and the government to spy on them or put them on a government watch list for purchasing legal firearms.

California and Colorado are the only states that have laws requiring financial institutions to specifically track firearm purchases. As of now, 15 states now have laws prohibiting the tracking of firearm purchases, though New York and Tennessee are discussing such legislation.

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