TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A bill aimed at banning financial institutions from tracking firearms and ammunition sales was introduced to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday afternoon, in hopes of blocking a corporate backdoor to building a comprehensive gun registry.
Following a proposed Merchant Category Code (MCC) specifically designed for firearm retailers, Rep. John Snyder (R-Stuart) filed HB 221. This legislation would fight back against an MCC for firearms merchants and prevent financial institutions from tracking gun and ammo sales in Florida.
“This bill is a measure to send a signal that here in this state, we’re going to stand up for our Second Amendment rights.” Rep. Snyder stated, explaining concerns that a specific MCC would allow private entities to compile a firearm registry.
While credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard have paused their plan for dedicated gun retailer codes, Rep. Snyder insists that this legislation is still necessary. “To withdraw the bill would invite those folks to potentially bring that conversation back to the table.”
Democrats pushed back hard against the legislation, citing concerns over domestic terrorism and usurping law enforcement.
“Mass shootings are on the rise,” Rep. Dianne Hart (D-Tampa) said. “Why do we want to make it harder and harder for our law enforcement to have the necessary information they may need to solve gun violence?”
Rep. Dotie Joseph (D-Miami) agreed: “There are limits for a reason. Nobody wants to infringe on the legal right to access firearms. The concern is, what can we do proactively to keep people safe?”
Rep. Snyder dismissed these arguments, saying his Democratic counterparts are “trying to sell a fake sense of reality.” He stated that “arbitrary caps” on purchases at gun merchant stores could lead to innocent people getting flagged. This could cause them to end up on a government registry where they would be tracked and monitored, he explained. “And just like that, our Second Amendment right is gone,” Snyder concluded.
Like its companion bill SB 214, the legislation passed committee, though with a close 9–6 vote. It will now advance to the Commerce Committee.