February 14, 2024

On Anniversary of Parkland Shooting, Reps. Frost & Moskowitz Introduce “Identify Gun Stores Act” to Help Identify Suspicious Gun Violence-Related Purchasing Patterns

WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), alongside Congressman Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), announced the introduction of the Identify Gun Stores Act, legislation to empower credit card companies to implement a new merchant category code to better identify gun and ammunition sellers, a proactive measure that could help recognize suspicious purchasing patterns and provide law enforcement with information to stop shooters and save lives.

The bill comes over one year after an international organization approved the use of a new merchant category code (MCC) for credit card companies to help detect suspicious firearm and ammunition sales. Since then, Republican-led states, including Florida, have banned the implementation of this potentially life-saving policy to keep the gun lobby happy. As a result, major credit card companies have had to pause implementation of this code due to confusing and conflicting laws across the country.

The Identify Gun Stores Act would end the confusion and prohibit states from preventing credit card companies from establishing and implementing the potentially life-saving merchant category code to track suspicious gun and ammo purchases. 

In Orlando, the Pulse nightclub shooter racked up more than $26,000 in credit card charges on guns and ammunition in the twelve days ahead of his killing spree. Before he did so, however, the shooter ran several online searches to determine whether his “unusual spending” would be flagged by credit card companies and reported to police. It was not.

“In a state home to two of the most vile and horrific mass shootings in recent history – Parkland and Pulse – it is shameful that under NRA-bought Republican leadership, Florida is preventing credit card companies from being proactive against gun violence and helping stop shootings before they happen,” said Congressman Frost. “The Identify Gun Stores Act is a simple, straightforward effort to help save lives. It’s time we honor the victims of these horrific mass shootings with action, not just empty thoughts and prayers.”

“There are common red flags we should be on the lookout for when it comes to large purchases of firearms and ammunition. If an 18 year old walks into a gun store and buys two AR-15s, body armor, and hundreds of rounds of ammo, that should set off a red flag. This is a common sense measure that I believe every responsible gun owner could get behind,” said Congressman Moskowitz.

The Identify Gun Stores Act has been endorsed by Guns Down America, Everytown for Gun Safety, March for Our Lives, Giffords, Newtown Action Alliance, Brady, and Community Justice.

“The Identify Gun Stores Act put forward by Rep. Frost shows that the era of exceptions for the gun industry is an unfair relic of the past that made our communities vulnerable to gun violence. It’s more than important that lawmakers, banks, and corporations work together to enforce the use of the gun store MCC, a common sense approach that applies to nearly all other businesses except for the gun industry,” said Hudson Munoz, Executive Director of Guns Down America. “Our new report, released earlier this week, found that dozens of crimes have been committed using credit cards, from gun trafficking to terrorism to mass shootings. An MCC could have helped financial institutions flag these high-risk purchases to law enforcement and help prevent these horrific crimes. We’re glad to support this bill and federal efforts to put an end to gun violence.”

“Over 1.1 million Americans have been shot by guns and there have been over 5,000 mass shooting incidents since the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy. Guns are the number one killer of our children and teens. Gun violence is a crisis in our nation and we need all public and private entities to step up to help save lives. If financial institutions can use four-digit numbers to identify grocery stores, department stores, and hardware stores, then they should be able to identify gun and ammunition stores as well,” said Po Murray, Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance. “Many shooters purchase their guns and ammunition with credit cards or debit cards and the Merchant Category Codes will help law enforcement flag suspicious buying patterns to prevent tragedies.”

“For far too long, gun sellers haven’t been held to the same level of oversight as other businesses. Implementing a merchant category code for gun sellers will help law enforcement identify patterns of illegal gun trafficking and intervene to prevent tragedies before they happen. We applaud Rep. Frost for introducing this critical legislation that will help keep communities safe and ultimately save lives,” said John Feinblatt, President, Everytown for Gun Safety

“The Identify Gun Stores Act is a straightforward way to prevent gun trafficking and mass shootings before they happen. Industry-specific merchant category codes (MCCs) are applied to nearly every type of business but not gun and ammunition sellers. These codes have been used as a tool to identify and prevent crime, and this bill will ensure they can be used in every state to identify suspicious sales patterns indicative of trafficking firearms or accumulating an arsenal to use in a mass shooting. We must use all the tools we have at our disposal to end the epidemic of gun violence in America — MCCs are one of those tools. This is a solution where everyone can get on board. Brady thanks Rep. Frost and Rep. Moskowitz for their leadership on this issue,” said Brady President Kris Brown