Ban Assault Weapons Now (BAWN) is trying to get a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot in Florida to outlaw “assault weapons” that are capable of firing more than ten rounds. The group received more than half a million dollars from small donors in August according to records from the Florida Department of State.
As reported by Fox 35 News out of Orlando . . .
Ban Assault Weapons NOW, the political committee behind the proposed constitutional amendment, drew more than 28,000 contributions totaling $595,000 in August, by far the largest amount in a single month since the committee was launched in March 2018. Nearly 12,000 of the contributions were $5 or less, the campaign report shows. Also, more than 5,000 were for $10.
With 105,000 valid petition signatures submitted so far, the group has surpassed the number needed to spur a Florida Supreme Court review of the proposed amendment’s wording. The committee needs 766,200 valid signatures to make it onto the 2020 ballot.
For those who aren’t familiar with them, BAWN is a political action committee that’s supported both by a number of Republicans (like Rep. Brian Mast and mega Trump donor Al Hoffman Jr.) as well as your usual gaggle of anti-gun Democrats.
August’s largest contribution — $50,000, on Aug. 23 — came from Americans for Gun Safety Now, a political organization based in Virginia that was founded by Al Hoffman, a former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee who lives in North Palm Beach.
a) Assault Weapons – For purposes of this subsection, any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device. This subsection does not apply to handguns.
b) Semiautomatic – For purposes of this subsection, any weapon which fires a single projectile or a number of ball shots through a rifled or smooth bore for each single function of the trigger without further manual action required.
Here’s what they determine a magazine to be.
c) Ammunition-feeding device – For purposes of this subsection, any magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device for a firearm.
Basically, it’s your typical “high capacity” magazine ban. Anything that holds more than 10 rounds would be verboten. So how do sections A, B, and C come together?
If the ballot initiative passes, a Ruger 10/22 or Marlin Model 60 would be banned. Why? Because the Marlin comes from the factory with a 15-round magazine tube and the Ruger can accept magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
The petition is so vague that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is currently trying to keep it off the ballot. And, of course, the gun grabbers are crying foul, claiming that Moody’s objections to the proposed Amendment are invalid.
Moody has four specific complaints.
First, she states that the ballot title and summary are defective in not being broad enough. The title refers to “defined assault weapons.” The summary defines assault weapons as “semiautomatic rifles and shotguns or detachable magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.”
She complains that the fact that this “would ban almost every semiautomatic long gun” is not explained. Her objection is not valid. The whole point of a semiautomatic gun is to be able to fire multiple shots, almost all of which can fire more than 10 rounds (with the exception of the traditional double-barrel shotgun), so neither the title nor the summary is misleading.
The second complaint is that the title and summary do not explain that someone who owns a banned gun when the amendment takes effect is exempt from the ban only if the owner registers it with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This objection also is not valid.
The title states that the amendment bans possession of “defined assault weapons,” while the summary states that the exemption “requires the registration of assault weapons lawfully possessed” before the effective date of the amendment. It is hardly a fatal defect that neither says with whom the registration must be filed.
The third objection is that, while the amendment has a 30-day delay between adoption and taking effect, the “ballot language” does not state that during that period a person can buy an assault-type weapon and come within the pre-owned exemption. Again, this is not a valid objection.
The ballot language does provide for the 30-day delay in the effective date. This necessarily means a weapon bought in the delay period is not banned by the amendment. There is no reason why the ballot language must expressly state this.
Moody’s last objection is that the amendment not only provides that a violation of the amendment is a third-degree felony, the Legislature can increase the penalty. Although the ballot language does expressly provide for the possible increase, the summary states only that the amendment creates “criminal penalties” for a violation of it.
The summary clearly puts voters on notice that it provides for the plural “penalties,” not just one penalty, and one of those penalties is that the Legislature can increase it.
BAWN sees the recent cash infusion from small donors as a moral victory in their beliefs that Floridians and Americans as a whole are eager to trample on the Second Amendment.
Again from Fox 35 News . . .
“Our strong August fundraising is a message from Floridians — and concerned individuals across the country — that we simply have to do something about the terror and devastation that military-style assault weapons can cause in our communities. Unfortunately, the catalyst for this outpouring of support was largely the back-to-back incidents of mass murder we all witnessed in horror over a single weekend in August,” Ben Pollara, senior adviser to Ban Assault Weapons NOW, told The News Service of Florida in a text message Thursday.