FLORIDA, USA — Newly sworn-in Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson unveiled his first legislative proposal on Tuesday, which could prevent credit card companies from tracking firearm and ammo purchases in Florida.
Simpson made the announcement for the "Florida Arms and Ammo Act" in a Brevard County gun shop alongside Zephyrhills Republican Sen. Danny Burgess, who will file the legislation, and Rep. John Snyder, who will sponsor it.
The bill would stop the collection of financial data on firearm and ammo purchases and impose fines on credit card companies that collect data on those purchases.
“This bill prohibits the use of MCC code, which is a merchant code identifying guns and ammunition, and fines credit card companies up to $10,000 per incident,” Simpson said.
The legislation comes as a response after credit card companies said they would adopt the International Organization for Standardization's new merchant code for gun sales at the end of last year, according to NPR.
Credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express say they plan on categorizing gun shop sales, which were considered general merchandise.
Most purchases have some type of categorization, however, critics of the new merchant code say gun stores would unfairly target legal gun purchases since codes just track the type of merchant and not the actual items purchased.
"A sale of a gun safe, worth thousands of dollars and an item considered part of responsible gun ownership, could be seen as a just a large purchase at a gun shop," NPR wrote.
Orlando's WESH reported that Democrats counter the bill by saying the code practice will not expose any law-abiding gun owner.
“If you are a responsible gun owner, you have nothing to worry about. This really is a tool for law enforcement to have if someone is making unusual purchases and could be plotting a mass shooting,” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D) in Florida State House District 42 told the news station.