- Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Friday that prevents credit card companies from tracking and harvesting data on firearm and ammunition purchases.
- The measure was passed in response to a new categorization for firearm and ammunition merchants approved by the International Standards Organization.
- The legislation prohibits the classification of firearms or ammunition retailers using a specific Merchant Category Code (MCC) but allows for the use of MCCs for general merchandise or sporting goods retailers.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law on Friday that prevents credit card companies from tracking and harvesting data related to firearm and ammunition purchases.
The bill, referred to as the ‘Florida Arms and Ammo Act,’ was filed after the Switzerland-based International Standards Organization, a non-governmental organization that develops international purchasing guidelines, approved a new categorization for firearm and ammunition merchants.
Some of the world’s largest credit companies, including Visa, American Express, and Mastercard announced last September that they would adopt the new standard, leading gun rights activists to claim that corporations could use the data to prevent firearm purchases.
“We’ll prohibit these massive financial institutions from collecting data on you, flagging you, just for basically exercising your right,” said DeSantis on Friday. “If you go and buy ammunition for your firearm and then you go to one of these shooting ranges, should you be flagged for that? I don’t think so.”
Specifically, the bill bars payment settlement entities, merchant acquiring entities, third-party settlement organizations, and entities involved in processing payment card transactions from classifying merchants with a specific code known as the Merchant Category Code (MCC) that identifies them as firearms or ammunition retailers.
An MCC is a four-digit code used in the payment card industry to classify businesses based on the products or services they offer. MCCs are assigned by payment card networks, such as Visa or Mastercard, to categorize merchants for various purposes, including transaction processing, reporting, and risk management.
The legislation, however, permits merchants to assign or use an MCC for general merchandise or sporting goods retailers. Any transaction or policy that fails to comply with the provisions outlined in the bill is deemed void and contrary to Florida’s public policy.
“We believe that whole idea of MCCs is very political,” continued the governor. “We think it’s going to be used against people for just exercising their basic constitutional rights.”
According to state leaders, the measure is the first of its kind nationwide.