Florida made headlines when it became the 26th state to pass some form of constitutional carry last month, but the Sunshine State isn’t stopping there in its defense of our Second Amendment rights. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently signed into law a bill that explicitly bars financial institutions from “discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs … including owning a firearm.”
“Last year we said we were going to take action against something called ESG. It stands for something called environmental and social governance. But what it really is is an attempt by elites to impose ideology through business institutions, financial institutions and our economy writ large,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at the signing of H.B. 3.
“ESG is basically just window dressing for doing what these people want to do. … It’s really an elite driven phenomenon. They’re trying to change society. They’re trying to change policy.”
The bill also requires that state-registered banks make loans to several industries, including firearms manufacturers and sellers, that large financial firms have turned away from due to following “environmental and social governance” (ESG) guidelines.
These guidelines “aim to institutionalize progressivism in the corporate sector, so that banks and other private firms focus on suppressing speech (and gun rights) instead of just maximizing profits,” as America’s 1st Freedom reported earlier this year in a special report.
As NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre aptly put it, “Unless they are checked by the Supreme Court, some government authorities might use their power to financially imperil internet companies, or oil-and-gas developers, or gun stores, or labor unions, or anyone else who fails to adopt ‘ESG’ priorities and to shun speakers with whom they disagree. This poses a massive threat to the First Amendment.”
In addition to this bill and the passage of constitutional carry, Florida lawmakers have also sent S.B. 214 to DeSantis’ desk for his signature. This bill would prevent credit-card companies from utilizing a specific code that would track the purchase of firearms, ammunition and other related sales.
This comes after credit-card companies were set to move forward with the implementation of specific merchant category codes (MCC) created to track these types of purchases. The gun-purchase-tracking scheme, if it is implemented, would “create a registry of gun owners that [gun-control groups] have long sought and provide them with another tool to attack lawful industry when firearms are used in crime,” as reported by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA).
Although the companies have not, at this time, implemented this code scheme after receiving substantial public pushback, states like Florida are now safeguarding against future attempts to revive this policy.
Gun controllers often attempt to utilize these disingenuous methods to enforce their agenda when they can’t get their way in the legislatures or the courts, but Florida is setting an example on how to stand up to these underhanded practices.