BAWN Defeated: Florida Supreme Court Keeps ‘Affirmatively Misleading’ Assault Weapons Ban Off Ballot

Brace Built Modern Carbine MC6 AR-15 rifle

JWT for TTAG

By Brendan Farrington, AP

The Florida Supreme Court is blocking an assault weapons ban from going to voters in 2022, saying in a Thursday ruling that the ballot summary is deceptive because it doesn’t clearly state that a grandfathering clause applies to the owner, not the gun itself.

A group called Ban Assault Weapons Now sponsored the proposed constitutional amendment, inspired by the mass shooting at a Parkland high school that left 17 people dead. It would have banned the possession of any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.

The amendment language would have made an exception for anyone who already lawfully owned an assault weapon as long as they registered it with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

But the court in a 4-1 opinion said the ballot summary was misleading because it said weapons lawfully possessed before the initiative was passed would be exempted.

The court ruled that voters would be deceived because the initiative wouldn’t have protected the weapon itself, but rather the person who lawfully owned it. In other words, people who legally owned a weapon wouldn’t be able to sell it or give it to someone else.

“While the ballot summary purports to exempt registered assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to the Initiative’s effective date, the Initiative does not categorically exempt the assault weapon, only the current owner’s possession of that assault weapon. The ballot summary is therefore affirmatively misleading,” the court wrote in its opinion.

Justice Jorge Labarga disagreed with the majority, and said the 75-word limit on the ballot summary can’t provide every detail of the entire initiative. But he said the language was clear.

“The ballot title and summary provide fair notice and equip voters to educate themselves about the details of the Initiative,” Labarga wrote. “Consequently, the Initiative should be placed on the ballot.”

If the language was approved and group had gathered enough petitions to place it on the ballot, it would have needed 60% voter approval to pass,

The ruling prompted a strong reaction from Ban Assault Weapons now. The group is chaired by Gail Schwartz, whose 14-year-old nephew Alex Schachter was killed during the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day 2018.

“The Supreme Court, now controlled by the NRA in the same way as our Governor and our Legislature, has fundamentally failed the people of Florida,” Schwartz said in a news release. “Not only has the Legislature recently made it harder to pass ballot initiatives, now the people must also face a Court of rightwing ideologues who will only approve initiatives they agree with politically.”

The state had certified about 175,000 of the more than 766,000 voter signatures needed to place the proposal on the ballot. But since the petitions used the language the court says is invalid, the group can’t simply tweak the ballot summary. It would have to start over.

Attorney General Ashley Moody opposed the ballot initiative, as did the National Rifle Association, which hired a legal team to fight it.

The group that launched the initiative raised about $2 million in the effort to get it on the 2022 ballot, including more than 300 donations from Parkland residents. The group Americans for Gun Safety Now contributed at least $260,000 to the effort, but a spokeswoman said it had no comment because it wasn’t involved in the legal proceedings,

comments

  1. avatar Specialist38 says:

    This is what i would call a hemorrhoid win.

    A small victory…..but it will be back….and probably soon.

    1. avatar Debbie W says:

      It’ll keep coming back until Gun Control Zealots are seen as promoters of an agenda rooted in racism and genocide. Until Gun Control Zealots are held accountable and are forced to publically discuss and justify their racist and nazi based Gun Control Agenda this tit for tat continues until they win.
      You have a court more or less saying it’s ok just make your ban light on those who already possess the firearms. Just don’t discriminate against those in possession just discriminate against those who may want to possess down the road. Sounds like a sleazy Jim Crow and a sleazy Third Reich plan to me.

    2. avatar Jack Smackinlibs says:

      excellent description.

      and those folks are definitely like hemorrhoids.

  2. avatar Ron says:

    This is an example of why the Supreme Court is vital. DeSantis got to pick 3 justices for Florida, I believe, giving Florida’s Supreme Court a solid conservative majority.

    Had the democrat, a meth smoking, underage male prostitute ordering, corrupt “Next Obama” (mainstream media’s exact words) won, this state would be an absolute trash heap right now.

    Trump 2020, all damn day.

    1. avatar Hankus says:

      You nailed it. I-1639 was hugely misleading, but the WA state SC – being bought and paid for by liberals in the state – decided that it was just fine. And the Seattle liberals all said Amen.

  3. avatar funkmastap287 says:

    Aside from the NRA quite often selling us out and being corrupt, here is another great reason for it to disappear: all of the folks claiming that the NRA owns or buys folks would have to find another boogeyman. Meanwhile, we could redirect our finances and efforts into better organizations like GOA, 2AF etc. And they could no longer use that bogus argument.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Liberals have an amazing ability to put things down the memory hole and rewrite history that is believed by useful idiots. Get rid of the NRA: down the memory hole… “GOA/2AF owns the judges! They have their racist roots in the ashes of reconstruction and hate blacks and gays! It is and therefore always has been!!!”

      Don’t give them anything. Not even the hoplophobe, backstabbing, dysfunctional, bankrupt NRA.

  4. avatar eagle10 says:

    Can we get the courts to ban demotaters and idiots? In actuality they are one in the same.

  5. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    The clown show lost. They have to start over entirely which not only costs them time and money, it gives people who were fooled into signing the petition opportunity to rethink signing on to this crap. Further, the riots will encourage people who might have supported this and have either already purchased a gun or have decided to do so to see this for the infringement of their rights that it is.

  6. avatar NORDNEG says:

    I really like watching & listening to the KARENS when they lose an argument,,,
    WINNING…M A G A …!!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  7. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    “owner” is a 5 letter word which in a 75 word description is 1/15th. You decide if there was adequate space there to put it in.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      an AR-15 is starting to look like a good buy these days…..

    2. avatar Jim from LI says:

      I’d bet that anyone reading this article could compose an accurate summary of the proposed amendment in 75 words or less. The banners didn’t because they didn’t want to.

      “The ballot title and summary provide fair notice and equip voters to educate themselves about the details of the Initiative.” A lot of voters would see this summary for the first time at the polling station. Not much opportunity to educate oneself.

    3. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

      Actually, it’s even more stark than that. “Owner” is a 5 letter word which in a 75 word description is 1/75th, not 1/15th. (The ballot description is 75 words long, not 75 letters long.)

      These rights-snatching statists have only themselves to blame. They know that the general public doesn’t support their self-defense firearm confiscation scheme, nor anything else typical of their socialist agenda. So they constantly have to lie, dent and conceal their evil aims. This they do through bait and switch legal wording, as with this attempt, and through incremental encroachments always in the direction of fewer freedoms and always under the battle cry of “compromise.”

      Had they simply played it straight, not played cutesy with ambiguous ballot wording, then they likely would have prevailed in this legal defense and perhaps more likely would have won on election day. As their spokesperson noted, all a voter had to do was educate themselves on this issue. Even a little more clear wording still would have required firing a couple of million brain cells to realize the fairly obvious consequences. Freedom infringers know full that that kind of inertia heavily favors their electoral sneak attack.

  8. avatar Ronald west says:

    That’s the way it should always be, I know it’s a fact they never stop with one ban, if they get their foot in the door, they always want more and more til the people has no rights at all, glad to hear Florida is standing up for what’s right, in the war on several occasions I had run low on ammo, so I would grab a good size rock and knock the HELL OUT of the enemy .some left this world, some didn’t, point is they would put a ban on rocks, calling them assault weapons (assault rocks) handy, let’s keep freedom ringing in America, AMEN

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      Not sure how the tax attachment got on this one. It’s from an old post. Iowa 2A Still Winning.

  9. avatar Bob in Calif says:

    I don’t understand how a Constitutionally protected civil right can be put to a vote by the general public. If they want to change the Constitution there is a very well explained way to do that. Mob mentality control is what the U.S. Constitution was designed to prevent. This is the same shit we have seen in Calif. and Wash. Voter opinion doesn’t remove our Civil Rights.

    1. avatar Reredacted says:

      This. Was just talking about the same thing with a friend. Say voter turn out is 20% of population. So 11% votes to ban constitutionally protected activity?? A rabidly radical fringe controlling everyone.

    2. avatar Darkman says:

      Activist politicians and judges who have been allowed to make “The Call”. To define what Rights are and how they may be used. The Bill of Rights is a hollow document without “We the People” to ensure it is not abused. It does not get it’s authority from the written word. That must come a citizenry willing do what is necessary to see that it is not used as a leach. To lead free citizens into Tyranny.
      Extract from Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith
      Paris Nov. 13. 1787.
      the people can not be all, & always, well informed. the part which is wrong [. . .] will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. we have had 13. states independant 11. years. there has been one rebellion. that comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. what country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.

  10. avatar Docduracoat says:

    The riots have shown a lot of people that an AR 15 and 30 round magazines are good for defense against a mob

  11. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I wouldn’t have cared how they ruled. I wouldn’t have complied. Just me.

  12. avatar Jaque says:

    The general direction of the country is toward liberalism, which is a sanitized word for communism. Sooner or later Florida and other states with conservative state governments will move to the left. Its only one election away. Florida’s demographics are changing, and not in favor of gun owners and hunters, and outdoors men. And soon the tipping point will be reached, and the weapons bans will become reality, constitutional or not. Don’t think the constitution will save us, because it hasn’t yet. Heller was a very specific ruling that did not cover our black riles specifically. And when the state comes for our guns, they will be taken first, and our day in court comes later. Later that is if you have the money to fight the state, which few of us have.
    So will it be resistance, civil disobedience, or bury the guns or the day when the balloon goes up ? I’m in the last 30 years or less of my life, so I hope to be around when SHTF and the domestic fight to retain our natural rights goes hot. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Nonsense. Communism is no tin America’s future. That died out between WW1 and WW2, along with fascism. The number of Americans with any serious interest in pursuing Marxist concepts is pitifully small. Even the few champions of ant of that who have made it into office are wimpy gutless nincompoops compared to their supposed forebears.

      We have a Hoplophobia problem, not a commies on the march problem.

  13. avatar Indiana Oak says:

    Does Florida even have a legal definition of an “assault weapon” or a “military grade assault weapon”?
    Or is the “BAWN” just wanting to go after any semi-auto rifle or shotguns? Not pistols? Without definition?

  14. avatar enuf says:

    Don’t get me wrong, delighted to hear of any win.

    But this was on a technicality, not on the merits.

    The good part is all the money invested by the Hoplophobes was wasted.

  15. avatar Will Larimer says:

    I don’t think voters have the authority to ban a constitutionally protected right without first changing the constitution. The correct order for the gun grabbers to address what they see as a “problem” and the vast majority of Americans see as a “right” would be to set up a nationwide group to change the constitution so that the majority can make a decision, good or bad.

  16. avatar Hannibal says:

    Whining about losing when they were the ones that purposely constructed a deceptive initiative.

    Maybe be honest about what you want instead of the whole “we support the 2nd Amendment but…” line.

  17. avatar Zack says:

    “now the people must also face a Court of rightwing ideologues who will only approve initiatives they agree with politically”

    As opposed to facing a court of left wing ideologues who will only approve initiatives they agree with politically.
    Eat shit traitor.

  18. avatar Casey says:

    I really with the parents of these people would sit them down, look them in the eye, and say: “Look. The NRA isn’t in control of anything. It’s just that you have a radical and unpopular idea, and MOST people disagree with you. It’s nice that you can find these new friends on the internet who agree with you, but you have to remember that they all also think that criminals follow laws, so we can’t really trust in their logical skills, okay? Now, take your thumb out of your mouth, put your shoes on, and let’s get you back to day-care.”

  19. avatar Roger J says:

    I was approached by one of these people looking for signatures on the BAWN petition at a County building a few years ago. Talked to him for a few minutes and he really didn’t know much about the issue. I asked where he was from and he lived about 1000 miles away. Even admitted he was in FL because he was being paid for his work here.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      I had the exact same experience outside of a Walmart about a year ago. It was two people from South Carolina being paid by BAWN to collect signatures to take away our rights. They had no clue what the initiative was really about. It was just a job to them and they didn’t seem to care. I educated them a bit and put things into perspective. They disappeared by the time I came out of the store.

  20. avatar Gene Ralno says:

    What a flimflam. Democrats don’t care if you already have one but if you do, you must register it. And why don’t they care? Because next year, they’ll know where it is and will simply confiscate it. Welcome to Weimar.

  21. avatar Barry Hirsh says:

    Citizen initiatives shouldn’t exist in this republic. This is not a democracy. Direct democracy was specifically denounced and rejected at the founding of this nation, and for good reason. This outrageous proposed constitutional amendment is the perfect example of why direct democracy can’t co-exist with unalienable rights.

  22. avatar Here's your Sign! says:

    We still have Commies ass deep that need thrown out of this country!

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