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FLORIDA (LifeSiteNews) – The state of Florida has threatened to penalize companies which track gun store purchases, following the decision of major credit card companies to separately categorize such transactions.

“If we come to the legislative session and companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express are generating these reports to create a chilling effect against the purchase of firearms, then I’ll work with the Legislature to pass a law penalizing businesses who are targeting the right to bear arms,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis in a statement Wednesday.

Patronis’s warning came on the heels of announcements by Visa, Mastercard, and American Express that they will adopt a “merchant category code” for firearms stores, which was adopted by the International Organization for Standardization earlier this month, according to Reuters.

The new code, in turn, was a capitulation to pressure from liberal politicians and gun control groups, who celebrated its enactment as the fruit of their efforts.

“We are grateful that the International Standards Organization has heeded our call to create a new merchant category code for firearms and ammunition sales,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams stated following the decision.

The change could make it easier for banks to deny customers the ability to use cards to buy legal firearms or any product at a gun store, such as a safe, pepper spray, or a knife.

Patronis further slammed the expected use of the new code as a threat to “the second amendment,” which he said “is foundational to our American way of life.”

The idea that law-abiding Americans would be put on some kind of corporate watchlist is disturbing,” stated Patronis. “Our rights come from our Creator, not the government, and especially not big corporations. It is clear that the actions by these credit card companies are part of a larger effort to curtail God-given constitutional rights of Americans.”

“It is also symptomatic of the virus known as ESG, which is part of a global effort to socially re-engineer the country that we love so much,” Patronis continued, referring to environmental, social, and governance, a movement to essentially give businesses soft social credit scores.

“There is no way we are going to allow that to happen in the free state of Florida.”

Patronis asserted that the state is on “solid legal footing to pursue a bill protecting Floridians 2nd Amendment Rights,” adding, “We can also take it a step further by barring these companies from doing any business with the State of Florida. We will send a message out to these large corporations that if you are interested in doing business with Florida, you need to make sure that you’re protecting Floridians right to arm and defend themselves.”

The attorneys general of 24 states have demanded that Visa, Mastercard, and American Express rescind their decision to track gun store purchases following pressure from leftist activists and politicians.

The Republican AGs warned that tracking gun store purchases opens the door to abuses threatening Americans’ constitutional rights:

Creating and tracking this data only matters if your institutions are considering using that information to take further, harmful action—like infringing upon consumer privacy, inhibiting constitutionally protected purchases by selectively restricting the use of your payment systems, or otherwise withholding your financial services from targeted “disfavored” merchants. And generating a “list of gun buyers” creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be leaked, discovered, hacked, or otherwise obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.

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