TOPEKA, Kansas. (February 7, 2024) – A Kansas bill would prohibit financial institutions operating in the state from using a credit card merchant category code that enables the tracking of firearm and ammunition purchases.
The House Financial Institutions and Pensions Committee introduced House Bill 2722 (HB2722) on Feb. 6. The legislation warns that “the creation or maintenance of records of purchase of firearms or ammunition or the tracking of sales made by a retailer of firearms or ammunition by a nongovernmental entity, including a financial institution, without a substantial and historical business need or requirement imposed by law, may frustrate the right to keep and bear arms and violate the reasonable privacy rights of lawful purchasers of firearms or ammunition.”
The bill would prohibit a financial institution operating in Kansas from requiring the use of a firearms code that distinguishes firearms businesses from other businesses and make it illegal to charge higher fees for those businesses. It would also make it illegal for those financial institutions to keep registries of firearms or firearm owners.
The legislation also gives the State Attorney General the power to enforce the law by allowing individuals to file a complaint. If the AGO does not take any action within 90 days, the matter would then turn to the courts. If found guilty of a violation and refusal to cease doing so, the courts would be able to impose on those institutions a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 per violation.
IMPACT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS
Concern about the misuse of firearms databases isn’t just paranoia. The Taliban has reportedly used a firearm ownership database created by the U.S. government to track down gun owners and confiscate firearms in Afghanistan. This goes to show that even if you trust the people creating the database, it can fall into the wrong hands. In other words, the very existence of a database is a danger.
The feds can share and tap into vast amounts of information gathered at the state and local level through fusion centers and a system known as the “information sharing environment” or ISE.
Fusion centers were sold as a tool to combat terrorism, but that is not how they are being used. The ACLU pointed to a bipartisan congressional report to demonstrate the true nature of government fusion centers: “They haven’t contributed anything meaningful to counterterrorism efforts. Instead, they have largely served as police surveillance and information sharing nodes for law enforcement efforts targeting the frequent subjects of police attention: Black and brown people, immigrants, dissidents, and the poor.”
Fusion centers operate within the broader ISE. According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant. Known ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence which oversees 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. ISE utilizes these partnerships to collect and share data on the millions of unwitting people they track.
In practice, local data collection using ALPRs, stingrays, drones and other spy technologies create the potential for the federal government to obtain and store information on millions of Americans including phone calls, emails, web browsing history, location history, and text messages, all with no warrant, no probable cause, and without the people even knowing it.
In a nutshell, without state and local assistance, the feds have a much more difficult time gathering information. When the state limits surveillance and data collection, it means less information the feds can tap into. This represents a major blow to the surveillance state and a win for privacy.
HB2772 is in the House Financial Institutions and Pensions Committee, where it will need to pass before it can advance to the full House.
- New Hampshire House Committee Passes Bill to Prohibit Credit Card Codes to Track Firearms Purchases - February 19, 2024
- Wyoming Bill Would Prohibit Credit Card Codes to Track Firearms Purchases - February 14, 2024
- Georgia House Committee Passes Bill That Would Prohibit Credit Card Codes to Track Firearms Purchases - February 13, 2024