Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Friday that critics say will make it harder to investigate gun crimes.
The legislation, SB 214, prevents credit card companies from affixing purchases of guns and ammunition with a special code, which can later be used to investigate various gun-related transactions.
The Republican governor framed the decision as a defence of individual privacy and gun rights.
"They can tag you or flag you as being somebody that somehow should be looked at and that’s just fundamentally wrong," he said on Friday.
Critics say the bill will harm public safety and get in the way of police investigations.
“There’s a lot of things that go on in these investigations, and sadly we’re in a crisis across this country,” said state senator Victor Torres, an Orlando Democra, told Orland Weekly. “Every day, every weekend we hear about shootings in our counties, in our state, across the nation. And this state should be more aware as to the purchasing of guns and ammunition.”
Companies that violate the bill can be fined up to $10,000.
Last year, credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard, and Amex announced plans to change how they track purchases at gun stores, but suspended the changes amid pushback from GOP states.
Last month, Mr DeSantis signed a bill making Florida the latest state to adopt permitless carry.
Now, citizens of the sunshine state can carry weapons without training, a permit, or a background check.
As The Independent has reported, more than half of US states have such bills, which anti-gun violence advocates say make shootings more likely.
“Despite continued acts of gun violence, lawmakers continue to cave to the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda,” gun reform advocacy group Moms Demand Action. said in a statement on 27 March.
Florida has been home to some of the most infamous mass shootings in the country, including the 2018 Parkland massacre, in which 17 people were killed at Marjory Soneman Douglass High School.
Following that shooting, Florida began requiring every public school in the state to have an armed security guard on campus.
However, as The Independent has reported, there’s little evidence armed security guards prevent mass shootings at school, and sometimes make them worse.