John Snyder bill blocking tracking of major gun purchases advances in House
John Snyder is posting solid numbers for his re-election effort.

Democrats say a new system could prevent mass shootings.

A House committee advanced legislation that will stop financial institutions from tracking purchases made at gun shops.

Rep. John Snyder said his legislation (HB 221) would prevent credit card companies and other businesses cutting off the finances of individuals because they didn’t like purchasing habits including ammunition and guns.

“In Florida, any type of registry of gun owners is not allowed,” the Stuart Republican said.

But Democrats say this could strip away a tool of law enforcement that potentially could prevent mass shootings.

The Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee advanced the bill on a party-line vote.

Rep. Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat, noted the shooter in the 2016 attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando had done internet searches on whether banks could track massive ammunition purchases. He learned they did not, and he went about amassing bullets he later used to kill 49 people in a terrorist attack.

The issue has arisen because the International Organization of Standardization in September approved a merchant category code that will allow financial institutions to flag unusual purchases of guns and ammunition.

Nixon said if that code existed before the Pulse shooting, it may have attracted the attention of law enforcement and prevented the tragedy.

“Research has shown these folks are using credit cards, going multiple times to buy ammo and buy guns,” Nixon said. “This doesn’t infringe on the rights of folks. It just flags it.”

Similarly, Rep. Joe Casello, a Boynton Beach Democrat, said he didn’t want to take a tool away from law enforcement. Police regularly look at purchasing histories when investigating crimes, and the information could be used to prevent an incident.

Snyder, though, said shooters buying mass ammunition can simply use cash. He also noted the new codes will only be used in standalone gun and sporting goods stores.

Rep. Fiona McFarland, a Sarasota Republican, said she supported the legislation on data privacy grounds.

“I’ve long had concerns about financial institutions tracking and sharing of data,” she said. “This brings a new lens to discussion of the issue of how information is tracked and who is the arbiter of what’s good and what’s bad.”

Snyder said he could envision a bank taking issue with sportsmen and other practitioners of Second Amendment rights buying stockpiles of guns or ammunition for legal purposes.

The matter has drawn partisan commentary. Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson said passage of Snyder’s bill is one of his priorities this year, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also sent a representative to the hearing to back the bill.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost led a letter signed by all Florida’s Democratic members of Congress asking the Legislature not to hear the bill.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Paul Passarelli

    March 9, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    the article states: “Rep. Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat, noted that the shooter in the 2016 attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando had done internet searches on whether banks could track massive ammunition purchases. He learned they did not, and he went about amassing bullets he later used to kill 49 people in a terrorist attack.”

    Which is proof that Nixon has literally no understanding of guns or gun culture. That *IGNORANCE* should preclude her from having anything to do with legislation that influences the subject matter.

    Let me expand: What exactly is a “massive ammunition purchase”? Is it 50 rounds? Is it a few hundred rounds? Is it 1,000 even? How many was the shooter actually carrying that tragic day? I asl because lead & brass are *HEAVY* It’s seems unliely that the shooter (whom I shall not name) was carrying the totality of what a reasonable person would call a ‘massive purchase’.


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