Assault Weapons Ban Ballot Initiative Blocked From Florida Ballot by State Supreme Court

FILE – In this April 10, 2013 file photo, craftsman Veetek Witkowski holds a newly assembled AR-15 rifle at the Stag Arms company in New Britain, Conn. A ruling released Friday, April 6, 2018, by a federal judge in Boston, dismissed a lawsuit challenging Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, stating that assault weapons are beyond the scope of the Second Amendment right to “bear arms.” (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

A ballot initiative seeking to ban so-called assault weapons in Florida was blocked from being placed on the ballot by the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, being thrown out for failing to concisely describe the provisions of its grandfather proposal.

The ballot initiative had been sponsored by a group called Ban Assault Weapons Now. It was slated to be voted upon in the 2022 Florida elections, and would’ve criminalized the ownership of commonly owned rifles such as the AR-15.

However, the ballot initiative was thrown out by the state supreme court on the basis of its deceptive language. The ban contains a ‘grandfather’ provision that enables some gun owners to keep their weapons. But it’s unlike other ‘grandfather’ provisions inserted into other gun control packages, applying directly to the gun owners themselves rather than the firearms. Thus, a grandfathered gun owner could not legally transfer his rifle to someone who didn’t already have one, should the ballot initiative have passed.

The 4-1 Supreme Court ruling striking down the ballot initiative argued that the language it used was misleading and deceptive.

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.

Gun control organizer Gail Schwarz went on to blame the NRA for the ruling, ignoring that the ballot initiative’s language regarding the grandfather clause was misleading and differed considerably from the clauses enacted by other anti-gun states.

It’s more than possible that Bloomberg-funded gun control groups could set up another assault weapons ban ballot initiative without the shady language that could be  reintroduced, if Ban Assault Weapons Now gets enough petition signatures to reinsert it on the ballot before the 2022 election deadline.

Our Latest Articles