A constitutional amendment has been proposed for Florida’s 2020 ballot that would ban most semi-automatic long guns in the state. The petition drive and effort is being pushed by a Miami-based organization known as Ban Assault Weapons NOW (BAWN) and they have some big names in their corner. A former Republican member of the Florida Senate is part of their committee, of course, to give it a bipartisan veneer.
Their mission statement is simple:
Congress won’t act. The Florida Legislature won’t act. The only way to ban assault weapons like AR-15s and other weapons of war is for the people of Florida to go to the polls and vote. This campaign will place an amendment on the 2020 ballot in Florida to do what our elected leaders refuse to: Ban Assault Weapons NOW.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the group has raised nearly $410,000 since March, while spending almost $284,000, according to finance information. The expenditures included $75,000 last month to a California-based company for what was described in the finance information as “petitions.”
Our own research into BAWN shows that they have a lengthy donation record through the Florida Department of State records.
Additionally, they are part of ActBlue, a nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables Democrats, progressive groups, and nonprofits to raise money on the internet by providing them with online fundraising software. Its stated mission is to “empower small-dollar donors.” Basically it’s a leftist GoFundMe for their pet political causes.
Here is the actual petition.
If this petition gets enough signatures and passes in 2020, it would designate any semi-automatic long gun in Florida with a capacity of more than ten rounds an “assault weapon” and ban them for future sale or possession. Additionally, it would require that Floridians register their firearms with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Failure to do so or possession after the grace period would be a third degree felony and that would automatically strip Floridians of their Second Amendment rights. Furthermore, this would also invalidate Florida Criminal Statute 790.335 and 790.336, the prohibition on registration and keeping of lists/records.
Still another more radical ballot measure is being proposed by Stop The Killing. Their goal is to outright ban the ownership of all firearms with a capacity of more than seven rounds in Florida. A search of their financial records show they’ve had little support of any kind so far. But their mission statement is plain as day.
To change the Constitution of the State of Florida to include banning the ownership of military style weapons by private persons and restricting the ownership or possession of guns by criminals, habitual law breakers, repeat abusers, and persons who make violent threats to others.
The actual petition can be read in full here.
In the end, Florida’s gun-grabbers haven’t quit. Even though they didn’t gain control of the Governor’s office, they now have the Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ seat and that controls Florida’s concealed carry weapon permit system. Look for newly-elected commissioner Nikki Fried to use her office as a bully pulpit to support one of these ballot measures.