Florida ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Shot Down…For Now

ban assault weapons now

bawnfl.org

A group called Ban Assault Weapons Now had sponsored a ballot initiative to amend the Florida Constitution that would ban semi-automatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Those opposed to the amendment claimed the ballot summary violated state law, in that it misrepresented the full proposed amendment text.

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court agreed.

While the parties have raised a number of issues for this Court’s consideration, we address only one issue that is dispositive—the ballot summary affirmatively misleads voters regarding the exemption addressed in the next to last sentence of the ballot summary, which provides that the Initiative “[e]xempts and requires registration of assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to this provision’s effective date.” This misleading language violates section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes (2019), which sets forth the requirements for the ballot title and summary of an initiative petition and provides as follows
[…]
For the reasons stated, we conclude that the ballot summary is misleading and does not comply with section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes. Accordingly, this Initiative cannot be placed on the ballot.

At issue was this portion of the summary:

Exempts and requires registration of assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to this provision’s effective date.

The Court correctly noted that the initiative text does not really do that.

If a person had lawful possession of an assault weapon prior to the effective date of this subsection, the person’s possession of that assault weapon is not unlawful (1) during the first year after the effective date of this subsection, or (2) after the person has registered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or a successor agency, within one year of the effective date of this subsection, by providing a sworn or attested statement, that the weapon was lawfully in his or her possession prior to the effective date of this subsection and by identifying the weapon by make, model, and serial number.

If the firearm were exempt (subject to registration), its exemption would travel with it. But the initiative only protects the firearm’s current owner. The firearm could never be transferred again. The one owner would get amnesty, not the gun.

Note that the Court was not taking a position on the merits of the initiative. They were only evaluating whether the ballot summary accurately described it; it did not.

The good news is that the petitions that were signed to get this on the ballot used the same defective description, so they are invalid. BAWN will have to start over from scratch.

The better news is that supporters of the ban blew some $2,000,000 on the whole fiasco. They’ll have to start fundraising all over again, too.

comments

  1. avatar Rick The Bear says:

    BAWN is bawling now. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “He who laughs last, laughs best.”

      The metaphorical ‘Fat Lady’ hasn’t sung yet.

      They will be back, and the next time it will likely pass. If we don’t win in November, gun rights are in jeopardy, thanks to traitor Roberts…

      1. avatar Noasaying says:

        Yep. The silence is demeaning on the 10 gun cases gathering dust in the Suprem Court in box. Undoubtedly the conservative wing is concerned that Roberts will be on the gun cases, possibly reversing Heller.

      2. avatar The grid says:

        If Trump is re-elected, gun-rights will also be in jeopardy. I am not sure how you cannot see that. The last set of anti 2A laws passed by the FL legislature, following the Parkland H.S shooting in Broward, were supported by a majority of republiscums. Trump has done very little for the 2A, he talks a lot that’s for sure, other than that he is pretty useless and it’s always someone’s else fault.

        1. avatar Rusty - time for RGB to go - Chains says:

          Don’t care that Trump is luke warm on the 2nd. He appoints good judges (better than Roberts) and RGB is hanging on by a tread hoping that Trump gets replaced by Biden. If Trump wins, he will get to replace her and likely Breyer as well and that is a win for the 2nd and the nation!

        2. avatar Craig in IA says:

          “If Trump is re-elected, gun-rights will also be in jeopardy. I am not sure how you cannot see that.”

          I disagree- after the rioting and fake pandemic shutdown along with millions, not thousands of new gun owners, I believe we’ll see an increase in the number of good people who will stand against future idiot laws and regulation, even in the “deep blue” states. Typical NYMBY issue that’s come home to roost in places like Des Moines, Fargo and Souix Falls- places that always seemed immune to the whack-o crowd.

          Want to help the new momentum gain speed? Quit whining and predicting doom and gloom on sites like this that will do little to go beyond preaching to the choir and get out there through your local clubs/organizations and reach out to all those new gun owners. For God’s sake, don’t wait around for them to come to you, because many of “us”, as well as a constant drum of anti gun media in all forms have not given them a very good impression of gun owners in the past. It must’ve been quite a moment for many of them to come to the valid conclusion that they, too, need to buy a firearm. Give them a place to learn to shoot, welcome them to the real world and forgive them of their past “transgressions”. And don’t ridicule them about the mistake they made in the gun/caliber they chose to buy.

          Seriously, other than providing a place for like-minded people to bitch or for trolls to lurk, TTAG really does little on its own to promote the Second Amendment, shooting, or civil rights. (Sorry, Dan, no offense intended) Words on paper or spoken in sound bites do very little. None of the American experience would’ve happened in the first place had the Founders not started out with a good, well thought out and unified plan in the first part as well as the gonads to back it up. Are there any people like that left in the U.S.? Don’t wait- begin the out-reach next weekend.

        3. avatar Matty 9 says:

          That’s true, but how is the alternative better?
          I’m probably not the first to ask this.

  2. avatar AverageJoe says:

    If the government fears the citizens from possessing firearms it is time to fear the government

    1. avatar RGP says:

      No matter who is behind it, the current mess isn’t happening without the assistance of lots and lots of government employees and elected officials.

      1. avatar sparkyinWI says:

        Exactly right!

    2. avatar Aaron says:

      When government fears the people there is liberty, when people fear the government there is tyranny.

  3. avatar Docduracoat says:

    We just made it harder to amend the state constitution.
    Now we have to vote on it twice.

    1. avatar Docduracoat says:

      I would correct myself to say that there is an initiative on November’s ballot to make any amendment pass twice with a 60% majority.
      That will make these types of infringements much harder to pass

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        That is *crucial* to get passed.

        That a civil right can be destroyed by majority rule is tyranny…

        1. avatar JohhnyD says:

          Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on the lunch menu by mail in ballot.
          Freedom is a well armed, trained sheep taking exception to the vote outcome.
          Wolves will always do what wolves do.
          A patriot must do what preserves Freedom.

        2. avatar James Campbell says:

          When the votes were tabulated, it was found that over 2 million votes were for consuming the sheep, and a single vote was cast for meadow grass.

        3. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          Geoff – It takes 60% now here in Florida to pass a constitutional amendment.

          https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/laws-rules/constitutional-amendments/

          > A proposed amendment requires at least 60% approval from voters to pass [see Florida Constitution, Article XI, Section 5(e)].

        4. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          Ugh – Even signed in my “Delete” and “Edit” buttons aren’t here.

          I reread the OP and realized it was the double vote on an amendment and not changing TO a 60% majority.

          There’s a ballot initiative coming up to make it 2/3 rather than 60% though. Ballot initiative 19-05.

          It’s late.

      2. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        Maybe there needs to be a law to prohibit any laws or bill that infringe on out constitutional rights. Can’t rely on common sense ( uncommon now days ) to eliminate these infringements. We seem to always need a shiney new bill when a dusty old law is on the books.

  4. avatar C. Mac says:

    Probably hoped to get it on the ballot anyways.
    Washington state had the same law, their court said the fact that they lied didn’t matter.
    The initiative there stayed on the ballot with its craptastic summary.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      In clear violation of a law that spelled out exact requirements and process in order to prevent that exact thing from happening. When progressives get the upper hand, the rule of law is dead.

  5. avatar Too says:

    Well, if it returns in language that’s not misleading, it will have a better chance of not being accepted at election time. A win regardless!

  6. avatar Steve says:

    Love it, who will they get to enforce it if it does pass? Cops are quitting and being fired Nationwide, pass whatever laws they want……

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “Love it, who will they get to enforce it if it does pass?”

      Undercover cops will be at gun ranges doing ‘spot checks’ for compliance. Same for traffic enforcement LE.

      When you are afraid of going to a gun range…

  7. avatar Tim says:

    Thank you, Florida Man!

    1. avatar 'Florida Man' says:

      “Thank you, Florida Man!”

      No problem!

  8. avatar rc says:

    “They’ll have to start fundraising all over again, too.”

    Or Bloomberg and/or Soros will just write a check again.

    1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      ☝️Yes, a mere pittance for them.

    2. avatar Rusty - time for RGB to go - Chains says:

      True enough, but they aren’t allowed to pay signature collectors by the signature, so less BS faking of people signing their petition. So it is much harder than the first time through.

      1. avatar Roger J says:

        When I was asked to sign the petition I engaged the man in a short conversation. He couldn’t tell me where in town he lived. He finally admitted he was paid and lived out of state.

  9. avatar Mrlv says:

    WE didn’t win the war. They just have to reword it and if approved it will be put on the next ballot. This should not have to go to an election ballot. It is in our Constitution! Should not have to be voted by people in election.

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      If Ballot initiatives 19-08 (4) and 19-05 both pass this year it (an amendment) will then require a 2/3 majority and it will have to pass in 2 elections to become law.

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      “This should not have to go to an election ballot. It is in our Constitution! Should not have to be voted by people in election.”

      Hate to be the one to inform you, and I am in no way in favor of banning any firearm, accessory or creating more regulations, but nearly the same process is available to amend the US Constitution. Read Article 5. Really, any and everything is up for grabs by future generations, showing the need for people to either use their rights or give them up. Exercise this sacred right often and seek to bring anyone into the fold that you can.

  10. avatar Debbie W. says:

    It all boils down to a clear choice between saying Yes to Gun Control which is Rooted in Racism and Genocide or saying No to Gun Control which is Rooted in Racism and Genocide.

  11. avatar Mark says:

    2AF will just have to start another lawsuit that their Marxist dreams are unconstitutional.

    In the meantime, the the wake of last week’s e AR15 which has never been an “assault” rifle, can be know as a “rifle that prevents assaults.” I wonder how many times in the last week this has happened? Would love to know. Probably more than the events of criminals using AR15’s in shootings. In the last 10 years.

  12. avatar enuf says:

    It is a win on a technicality, not on the merits. That’s useful but temporary.

  13. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Amending a constitution is a serious thing. It’s too easily done in Florida. Seems every election there’s an amendment on the ballot that has no business being there. BAWN, or some other acronym, will be back.

    1. avatar Peter Gunn says:

      The biggest issue I have with ballot initiatives down here is that the wording of the ballot summary becomes the most important factor in getting an amendment passed. Ballot summaries are like advertisements… their purpose is to convince- not educate, be accurate, honest, or even truthful. Typically, voters know nothing about (or possibly never even heard of) the ballot initiatives until reading them on the ballot while voting. When standing in a voting booth voters find themselves “pressured” to “do the right thing”- which is exactly what the ballot summary writers want. Voters tend to quickly agree with the summary that makes them think, “Yeah, that sounds reasonable”- and they mark “Yes” without giving it a second thought. It is only later, after they’ve put some rational thought into it, that the horror of the magnitude of their error becomes clear.

    2. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      Be sure and vote “Yes” on initiatives 19-08 (4) and 19-05. They make it much harder to change the Constitution.

  14. avatar Stateisevil says:

    Sad what we consider a “victory” in Florida, but such is life in a fake pro gun state. What’s scary is it would have passed if it were to be voted on in the wake of a mass shooting. They’ll be back.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      If it gets on the ballot, there will be an Event just before the vote.

  15. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    If passed it would be a infringement of civil Constitutional right.
    Any politician that signed their name in support of it ,should be purged as a representative of any kind because they have proven their oath means nothing to them or the Constitution for that matter.

  16. avatar Swarf says:

    I-1639 here in WA misrepresented itself, lied about what it was in order to get signatures and other bullshit.

    And is now lawz

    1. avatar DinWA says:

      Was just reading over the RCWs, *any* semi-auto rifle is a “semiautomatic assault rifle”, and subject to further restrictions, I.E., a Marlin 60.

  17. avatar MGD says:

    Stay vigilant. The left never gives up and has a huge book of dirty tricks. Defeat at the ballot wherever you can.

    1. avatar Green Mtn.Boy says:

      Correct, evil never goes away.

  18. avatar Shire-man says:

    We’re the left and the people love our ideas so long as we misconstrue, misrepresent, obfuscate them, lie to your face about them and spend your money brainwashing generations of kids to like them so they can further misconstrue, misrepresent, obfuscate and lie.

    Oh, and guilt. Can’t forget guilt. Feel sad, hate yourself and vote democrat.

    1. avatar Dude says:

      “We’re the left and the people love our ideas so long as we misconstrue, misrepresent, obfuscate them, lie to your face”

      How people can’t see this never ceases to amaze me. Notice how they just jump from one [fabricated] “The Sky is Falling!!” to the next. They move on to the next “Crisis” and just completely abandon the previous one like it never happened. Russian Collusion? Impeachment over what again? The virus pandemic was something that affected us all, and could have actually been unifying since we were in it together, but the Left made it political. That grew tiresome (and their man Cuomo did objectively terrible), so they were thrilled when they could drop the virus talk, and make everything about race. What some cop did in a longtime Liberal town, under Liberal leadership is Entirely Trump’s fault because…um…reasons. Again, everyone could have been unified in wanting justice and reform. Now the protest is focused on Trump, and not solving policing issues because why? Because the Left doesn’t want unity. They thrive on division, plus they can never admit fault, so they just disparage their political enemies instead.

      “Oh, and guilt. Can’t forget guilt. Feel sad, hate yourself and vote democrat.”

      It’s amazing how well that works. Have some self-respect. People are pathetic. You’re responsible for you, not some stranger in another town, or another century.

  19. avatar William Ashbless says:

    If I recall, wasn’t everybody’s favorite gun expert ‘Mike The Gun Guy’ instrumental in crafting BAWN’s proposal?

    I seem to Rembrandt him crowing bout it a while ago.

  20. avatar DanC says:

    They won’t stop until they are all passed away…..

  21. avatar Alan says:

    Regarding this entire Assault Weapons business, the following is germane and might perhaps interest some.

    Both Remington and Winchester manufactured and sold domestically and abroad, Semi Automatic Rifles in various calibers, and ammunition capacities, both with internal and external magazines prior to The First World War, that’s more than 100 years ago. Of course, these semi automatic rifles had walnut stocks and resembled “sporting rifles” of the time. The so called Assault Weapons, the banning of which is all the rage in some quarters are not significantly different from the Semi Automatic Rifles of 100 plus years ago, about which not all that much a fuss was ever raised. The a foregoing said, my advice to the Antis is as follows. Wake up and smell the coffee, which when made with double roasted beans, and chicory is something to be enjoyed.

    1. avatar Bemused Berserker says:

      Every Firearm from Flintlocks to the AR15, were at one time in their history, Weapons of War. Whether it passed directly into civilian hands, or descended by modifications to insure it’s legal to own, it doesn’t matter. The Left doesn’t or willfully ignores that little fact, because it doesn’t fit their agenda. If the BAWN act had passed, it sounds like it would be a violation of SCOTUS’s Heller Decision.

  22. avatar Gideon Rockwell says:

    As far as I’m concerned every law that hinders a person from walking into a store laying down their money and walking out of there with their firearm of choice is a violation of the 2nd Amendment. It says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The Founders Geo. Washington in particular said it is the citizens’ GOD given right to own the most up to date effective weapons possible to defend home, family, self and the Republic. He called firearms in the hands of citizens the teeth of Liberty. This is what your Marx worshiping Democrat fears. If I walk into the neighborhood hardware store, which is where a lot of guns were sold when I was a boy, and there is a M-249 on the rack, I should be able to buy it if I have the money, no paper, no questions asked. Of course the only real problem is feeding that bullet hog.

  23. avatar The grid says:

    They will have no issues getting the fund they need for their anti 2A campaign again, and anti 2A idiots from “up north” move to FL by the thousands every year….just a matter of time. Some folks used to say America would never become socialist, doesn’t sound so unrealistic now, things are changing and for the worse.

  24. avatar Grass Roots says:

    The Dems created the Riots & Corona Fraud now their worst nightmare MAKING GUNS GREAT AGAIN has happened to a clear majority!!!!!!

    2020 will be a land slide unless they allow mail in fraud were every name in the Census with a D behind the name will vote a million times…then it will be close…if Joe Demented can get 50 votes!

  25. avatar Indiana Oak says:

    Does Florida even have a legal definition of an “assault weapon” or “military grade weapon of war”?
    Can’t see shotguns being swept into this, simply for “semi-automatic” operation. Shotguns used by the military were pump action as I remember. Are handguns included by virtue of magazine capacity or military use? BAWN is really stretching to reach this! Hope this can be defeated and not on technicality!

  26. avatar Wheel gun guy says:

    I lived In Florida in the 90’s , I do not know if it is still the same but at that time a concealed carry permit would run you $ 300.00 a year. Guess they did not want the poorer Floridians to have carry permits.
    Here in Indiana a five year permit to carry is FREE. I hold a lifetime permit from Indiana.

    1. avatar Peter Gunn says:

      A FL CWP has never been $300 a year- or anything close to that. When FL became “shall- issue” in 1987 the fee was $125 and was valid for 3 years. When I got my CWP in 1992 it was $190 and good for 3 years. Currently, a FL CWP is $97 and is valid for 7 years. Renewal is $45.

  27. avatar Wally1 says:

    let them come, some things are worth dying for.

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