FL GOP Passes Roadblock to Proposed ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Petition Process

Courtesy Ban Assault Weapons Now

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature might have actually gotten themselves back into the good graces of a lot of gun owners with a last-minute bill. As we have been reported, Ban Assault Weapons NOW! is attempting to get an “assault weapons” ban on the 2020 ballot through the initiative petition process. It appears they might have now hit a roadblock.

There were two bills originally submitted this legislative session, HB 7111 and SB 7096. They were mirror bills that would require paid petition gatherers to register with the Secretary of State and to attest that he or she is a Florida resident for a specified period before obtaining signatures on petition forms. The bills also required the name of the sponsor of an initiative to appear on the ballot with the percentage of donations received from certain in-state donors. Finally, the bills prohibited compensation for initiative petition gatherers based on the number of signatures gathered.

If passed, the law would have gone into effect immediately for any initiative meant for the 2020 ballot. However both bills died in committee on May 3rd.

Yet on the last day of session, the very day that both bills died, another avenue of advancement presented itself. HB 5, a local discretionary sales surtax bill. Opponents of the AWB tacked the language on as an amendment and HB 5 which passed both the House and Senate and is now on its way to Gov. DeSantis’ desk.

The full bill is here and the a breakdown of parts that apply to the initiative petition process follows:

  1. Petition gatherers cannot be paid per petition signature commission.
  2. They must be actual employees paid on a regular payroll as a regular employee.
  3. They can’t collect signatures for a bounty.
  4. Petition gatherers must be Florida residents for an established period of time. They cannot be out-of-state individuals.
  5. Petition gatherers must register with the Florida Secretary of State as official petition gatherers and must provide their address and sign a sworn affidavit stating the following; “By my signature below, as petition circulator, I verify that the petition was signed in my presence. Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read the foregoing Petition Circulator’s Affidavit and the facts stated in it are true.
  6. The Organization must provide a economic impact report to the Secretary of State and if the report shows any negative impact, ballot must include a statement indicating such estimated effect in bold font.
  7. Any petition collected has a 30 day period from the date of signature to be turned into the County Supervisor of Election’s Office. They cannot stockpile them. Every petition turned in after 30 days shall be fined up to $500.
  8. Out of State Firms are barred from organizing and funding Petition Initiatives and name of sponsors of an initiative to appear on the ballot with the percentage of donations received from certain in-state donors.
  9. This goes into immediate effect the most the Governor signs it into law or if the 15 days pass of no action by the Governor and it automatically becomes law.

In plain English, this largely blocks out-of-state money unless they organize and incorporate in Florida, hire established Floridians with in-state address, register them as official petition gatherers, pay them a salary rather than a commission, and fines them for submitting late signatures.

The usual model, used in a number of other states, involved out-of-state money used to hire college students to collect signatures with a per-signature bounty, or have an army of out-of-state petition collectors swoop into the state.

It looks like BAWN! and Americans for Gun Safety Now are going to have to re-work their entire AstroTurfed model since they aren’t in compliance. That puts a major crimp on their operation unless they can figure out a way around the law.


  1. avatar Thixotropic says:

    What a nice feel good story and it looks like Florida’s HB 7111 and SB 7096 are a good model for other states to follow. ALL States.

    Thank you Florida. Again.

    1. avatar Tom S says:

      Let’s hope it’s enough to stop Bloomberg , Brady and Kelly and all the other out of state gun grabbers.

  2. avatar Grumpy F'er says:

    Wow. I really wish we had that here in WA state.

    The no-out-state-money wouldn’t make much of a dent with all the Microsoft billionaires here.

    Last initiative petition drive for I-1639, I asked the sig gatherer outside Whole Foods (they allow that out front of their store? I’m shocked!):

    – who is sponsoring this (dunno)
    – how much money is from out of state? (dunno)
    – are you being paid by the signature (yes)
    – do you really have any idea what this covers (no)
    – do you understand that this will curtail civil right for law abiding citizens? (huh?)
    – so you have no vested interest other than a meager income? (no)

    The imitative process has been perverted. Again, I’m Shocked.

    1. avatar Toni says:

      exactly why in a previous article on exactly the same thing i suggested that maybe the signature collectors should be required to be volunteers which would stop those who simply wish to make a little extra cash but know nothing about that which they are collecting for and care less. Volunteers only would mean that only those that actually care about what they are collecting for would be out there collecting signatures and in the process they could also educate the public as to the ramifications

  3. avatar Asdf says:

    Ha ha, freaking brilliant. They just shut down the petition process for out of state entities.

  4. avatar Marcus says:

    Returning back to the Gunshine State!

    1. avatar D.T.O.M. says:

      Doubt it, at least not these bills. These are about ballot initiatives and noting else, they are still butt sore about the felons now voting. TTAG is reading to much into this.

  5. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Things would be best if the entire ballot initiative crap was removed altogether. People shouldnt be able to change laws by ballot. I can see both sides of the intiative deal. But I personaly dont care for it in general.

    1. avatar Thomas says:

      Likely why we are a (Constitutional) Republic and not a Democracy. Our founding father abhorred Democracy, calling it the “Tyranny Of The Majority.”

      1. avatar Byron says:

        Thumbs up!

      2. avatar Tom S says:

        I think even Rachel Mado once said “that’s the thing about rights you don’t get to vote on them” especially not taking away other people’s rights!

    2. avatar Arthur Derenthal says:

      AMEN !!!

  6. avatar joefoam says:

    Too bad the former governor caved to the Hogg crowd and signed knee jerk reaction bills.

    1. avatar Wood says:

      Don’t expect better behavior out of him now he’s a senator. Shady Rick is a sellout. What’s he doing in DC? Oh yeah, doing his best to grease business in which he has a financial stake.

    2. avatar G. W. says:

      Maybe, it is time to unsign some of those knee jerk bills? Do you think?

  7. avatar WI Patriot says:

    FL is on a roll recently…

  8. avatar coyote hunter says:

    great news…keep up the pressure.

  9. avatar Edward Franklin says:

    It probably wouldn’t be a terrible idea to forward this idea to your local politicians and try and see if it can gain traction in your own states. It would certainly kill off a lot of stupid garbage if a number of states would pass laws like this.

  10. avatar Fully Involved says:

    Love it!

  11. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    We have a democratic republic to prevent the LIVs from becoming despotic. Hell, even Plato warned about democracy becoming despotic.

  12. avatar Ark says:

    Imagine if you could revoke other people’s right to vote via ballot initiative.

  13. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Well, if this happens Bloomie will be stuck with just astro-funding “advocates” like Mothers Against Only Some Violence, and backing RightThink A G candidates. Sad.

    I was reminded the other day of how differently the sides respond to frustrations. Pro-gun folks go: “Well, we’d better figure out how to make a better case. Anti-people go: ” How can I game the rules to win?”

    It’s like the two have different takes on other people’s autonomy.

  14. avatar Todd Mulholland says:

    This whole ballot thing is BS and has become a way for the left to push their agenda here in FL when they can’t get enough of their candidates elected. Both of these two gun control ballot measures are complete and total infringements the better funded (by Blooming Idiot, Hollywood, Soros, MoveOn, and other lefty groups) Ban Assault Weapons Now is looking to BAN ALL semi auto rifles and shotguns that can hold more than 10 rounds either in an external or internal magazine regardless of caliber. So this POS measure would pretty much ban every single semi auto rifle made. Now these liberal idiots say they are being nice enough to allow you to keep your now legally owned semi auto rifles and shotguns so long as you register them with the dept of Law Enforcement.

    Now the other group I think they’re named something like Stop the Killing or some other BS wants to pretty much ban ALL guns.

    Now even if these morons do manage to get enough signatures to get a review by the FL Supreme Court I doubt they’ll pass the constitutional review as no other state not even NY or Ca has banned every semi auto rifle and shotgun.

  15. avatar Toni says:

    just my take on it. Petitions drives should be volunteer only. No remuneration which puts it squarely in the court of those who are actually passionate about the bill being put forward rather than someone desperate for a little extra cash. It also cuts out the need for such massive amounts of funding at the higher level as well

  16. avatar Jeff Tippens says:

    How is ballot initiatives even a thing? I’m not a lawyer and I don’t understand how something like this can even be possible? One side wins the election fair and square and the other side starts a ballot initiative to circumvent the election! When did this even become a legal?

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