Orlando Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost and the Florida Democratic Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Florida State House and Senate leadership, calling on the chambers to support new measures that would allow financial institutions to play a role in potentially stopping mass shootings before they happen. The Democrats say it is a proposal that could have prevented the Pulse Nightclub shooting that claimed 49 innocent lives.
The Republicans control the Florida legislature by big margins and this letter from Democrats is likely to have no impact on state policy.
Specifically, the Democratic members are calling on Chamber leaders to halt legislation that would stop a new merchant category code (MCC) from going into place that would allow banks and credit cards to identify and flag specific and irregular purchasing patterns at gun and ammunition stores that might be of concern.
The new process would allow financial institutions to identify highly concerning purchasing patterns like those similar to the Pulse Nightclub shooter who racked up $26,000 in charges in the 12 days leading up to his killing spree in Orlando.
Banks and credit card companies already use a similar system to work with law enforcement to prevent human trafficking, the Democrats point out.
Instead of embracing these measures, which could save lives from gun violence, Republicans in the Florida State and Senate are actively trying to eliminate it, the Democratic congressional members argue.
“After the mass shootings at Pulse and Parkland, our state and elected leaders should be doing everything in their power to ensure tragedies of that nature never happen again,” said Rep. Frost. “This new merchant category code is a simple and effective solution that could save lives and stop a mass shooting from happening before it’s too late. This new code wouldn’t stop anyone from lawfully purchasing a gun, and it wouldn’t take anyone’s guns away from them. This isn’t about politics, this is about saving Floridians’ lives.”
“It is unconscionable that conservative lawmakers in Florida are working to undermine law enforcement’s ability to identify and potentially stop individuals who are intent on carrying out mass shootings or traffic firearms,” said Igor Volsky, Executive Director of Guns Down America. “Rather than empowering mass shooters to easily obtain the firepower they need to cause tragedy, our elected officials should be building safer communities with fewer guns.”
Congressman Frost was joined by Reps. Lois Frankel (FL-22), Darren Soto (FL-09), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), and Sheila Cherfilus McCormick (FL-20) in signing the letter.
Here is the full text of the congressional letter: