FL ag commissioner proposes answer to credit card tracking

Image by Republica from Pixabay

Credit card companies are going to start trying to track gun store purchases. No one on this side of the debate is particularly thrilled, especially since we know it won’t accomplish what some are trying to claim it will.

What it will do, however, is open a Pandora’s box that should concern everyone.

Unfortunately, far too few see that for what it is. Instead, they’re pushing through with the plan to begin tracking all says conducted at gun stores.

And if that’s the case, the new Florida agriculture commissioner has an idea to try and prevent it.

Newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson is proposing a new plan, “The Florida Arms and Ammo Act,” that will fine credit card companies if they track gun purchases in Florida.

Simpson told Florida’s Voice this is a “backdoor way of trying to intimidate gun owners.”

These transactions at firearm stores were formerly labeled as “general merchandise.”

In the Free State of Florida, we’re not going to let liberal elitists dictate our policies here, as it relates our constitutional rights second amendment rights.

We have the right to buy guns or ammunition without their input and this is the first time in our history that credit card companies are being told by these liberal groups that they need to come up with this new code.

Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson

Simpson says the legislation would prohibit the use of the code, and if they use it they will be fined up to $10,000 for each incident in the state of Florida.

Now, I like where Simpson’s head is at.

However, I don’t see how this is workable. See, the way this tracking is going to happen is through merchant codes, which the credit card companies don’t determine. ISO makes those decisions and pretty much hands them down.

Can they reasonably create a system that doesn’t track such stores in Florida?

Well, they probably can. ISO announced they would create a special code for gun stores after getting pressure from anti-gun voices, but not all of the companies have signed on. Discover, for example, has never made an announcement that they’d be joining Visa, Master Card, and American Express in using these new codes.

That suggests there’s some degree of discretion available here.

When a new merchant goes through the process of accepting credit cards, the companies can decide not to use the new code for gun stores in Florida, thus negating any effort to track gun sales there.

As it stands, though, there’s no reason to do it.

Yet if Simpson is successful–and he’s working with lawmakers to make it happen–then suddenly they do. Credit card companies that grudgingly accepted the new code suddenly have a strong incentive to not use the new codes or try to otherwise track gun store purchases.

And if they decide to track them anyway? Well, the state of Florida will have a new source of revenue coming in.

Now, there will likely be some degree of litigation surrounding some new law–there always is, after all–but since states are generally permitted to regulate business within their own borders, I fail to see how such a challenge would be successful. Then again, I’m not a lawyer nor did I play one on TV.

If it works, though, I expect we’ll start seeing a lot of other red states embracing this as well. In fact, I think a number of purple states will go along with it, too, because this is an area of concern. If our purchases can be tracked simply because they’re unpopular, what else will get tracked in the future? After all, there are a lot worse things than guns that can be purchased via a credit card.