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DeSantis signs bill blocking credit card companies from tracking firearm purchases

The legislation will prevent credit-card companies from using a separate “merchant category code” for sales at gun businesses.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A bill aimed at preventing credit-card companies from tracking firearm and ammunition purchases was one of two bills signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.

The bill (SB 214), approved during the legislative session that ended earlier this month, will prevent credit-card companies from using a separate “merchant category code” for sales at gun businesses.

During a news conference in Fort Myers, the governor said the legislation is stopping companies from raising red flags about people who are exercising their constitutional rights. 

"They can tag you or flag you as being somebody that somehow should be looked at and that's just fundamentally wrong," DeSantis said.

House sponsor John Snyder, R-Stuart, said the proposal would protect the ability of Second Amendment supporters “to purchase and spend their money freely without fear of reprisal.” 

Democrats argued the bill would interfere with businesses and hinder efforts to track guns used in violent incidents. 

Similar four-digit codes are already used to separate purchases and collect data from places such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and bookstores. 

Last year, Visa, Mastercard and American Express announced plans to categorize gun-shop sales. But after Republican pushback in several states, the plans have been paused. 

The Republican-controlled House voted 83-32 to pass the bill, while the Senate approved it in a 27-11 vote.  

With DeSantis' final approval, the bill is set to take effect on July 1.

The governor also signed a bill(SB 7054) that will keep "central bank digital currency" out of Florida. 

DeSantis said implementation of a digital currency system would be a form of "surveillance and control" by the government. 

“Cash is king, you know. When you have that, you control your own destiny. If you’re relying on some digital system, and you have no other recourse and it's controlled by a central authority, you’re putting your independence in their hands," the governor said.

The central bank digital currency bill is also set to take effect on July 1.

10 Tampa Bay's Andrea Chu contributed to this report. 

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