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The next Pulse shooting could be prevented by credit card companies, says Florida congressman

Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida
Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida Website

Proposed legislation, if passed, would stop states from prohibiting the creation of a merchant code for guns. The Pulse shooter reportedly had almost $30,000 in credit charges on guns and ammunitions.

A Florida congressman wants credit card companies flagging suspicious gun purchases. If that happened in 2016, Rep. Maxwell Frost said the Pulse shooting might have been averted.

At a press conference honoring the sixth anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Frost, a Democrat representing Orlando, made sure to mention another tragedy that impacted Florida’s LGBTQ+ population. A gunman swearing allegiance to ISIS entered the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, and killed 49 people, most of them queer and Latino, before being killed in a standoff with police.

“The Pulse nightclub shooter racked up more than $26,000 in credit card charges on guns and ammunition in the 12 days ahead of his killing spree,” Frost said. “And before he did that, the shooter ran several online searches to determine whether or not the unusual spending would get flagged by credit card companies or not. Obviously, it wasn’t, and 49 people are dead because of that.”

Frost introduced the Identify Gun Stores Act with Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat representing Parkland, Florida. The legislation, if passed, would stop states from prohibiting the creation of a merchant code for guns.

Retailers for years have considered a special code so that they can take note of unusual retail activity with the purchase of firearms or ammunition. But the practice has drawn fire from Second Amendment extremists across the country, and many conservative states have laws in place preventing the use of such codes. Three states — Florida, Montana, and Texas — passed such laws last year alone, according to trade publication Payments Dive. At least four other states — Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia — have similar laws already on the books.

House Democratic leadership signaled its interest in the bill. Democratic Whip Katherine Clark participated in the press conference with Frost and Moskowitz, as did Rep. Mike Thompson, who chaired the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

“It is not too late for us to prevent the next tragedy,” Clark said.

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