According to Dean Weingarten from Ammoland, anti-gun activists in Florida are campaigning to put an “assault weapons” ban amendment on the ballot for 2020.
Under this amendment, the future sale of nearly all semi-automatic rifles and some semi-automatic shotguns would be banned. Further, this amendment would require registration of “assault weapons” that are currently owned by certain gun owners.
Under the proposed state Constitutional amendment, assault weapons are defined as:
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.
c)Ammunition–feeding device –For purposes of this subsection, any magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device for a firearm.
Weingarten makes an interesting point, however:
Nearly all .22 semi-automatic rifles, qualify under this definition. .22 semi-automatic rifles, as a class, may be the most common rifles in the United States. They having been in production and popular since the 1914.
Indeed, this “assault weapons” ban would cover weapons that have “been produced by every major and many minor firearms manufacturers.” The Ammoland writer notes that there are tens of millions of weapons that fall under the so-called “assault weapons” category and a ban on them could affect millions of gun owners:
There are tens of millions of them existing in the United States. Virtually all of them who use detachable magazines can accept magazines of more than 10 rounds; virtually all of them that use tubular fixed magazines accept over 10 rounds.
Weingarten also highlighted that the referendum excludes handguns. He gave his reasoning behind the decision to keep handguns out of the proposed ban:
The Supreme Court, in the Heller decision, specifically held that handguns were arms protected by the Second Amendment. In addition, handguns are extremely popular in Florida, as is concealed carry. Florida currently has about two million active concealed carry permits.
So far, the organizers of the Florida referendum have gathered 100,000 signatures.
To put a Constitutional amendment up for a vote, they need at least 76,620 signatures to have the ballot title and summary to be approved by the Secretary of the State. Then, the organization has to collect another 666,200 valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot for the 2020 election.
Once the measure is placed on the ballot, 60% of the voters have to approve the measure in order for it to become an amendment of the Florida Constitution.
Although Florida passed solid legislation arming teachers, the political climate in the state has reached a boiling point since the 2018 Parkland shootings.
Civilian disarmament activists recognize that firm Republican control of the Florida State Legislature will keep them from passing anti-gun legislation. Instead, they’ll put it on the ballot where they can deceive misguided voters come election time.
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