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:
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.
Democrats Introduce Expanded Background Check Legislation
Democrats are going to implement a background check which targets “extremism.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and California Congressman Mike Thompson brought forward legislation on March 2, 2021 that aims to broaden the federal background check system on firearms sales, according to a report by The Hill.
Under The Background Check Expansion Act, gun sales and purchases between all unlicensed sellers and buyers would be subject to a mandatory background check. The background checks would not be applicable for law enforcement officers, lending out firearms for the purpose of hunting, temporary transfers for self-defense, or family members gifting a firearm.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and 43 Senate Democrats have co-sponsored this bill. Thompson, who is the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced this legislation in the U.S. House
“For years, the bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities,” Schumer declared in a press release.
According to a CBS News report, President Joe Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to pass stiffer gun control laws. This gun control bill will not pass so easily given how it will need 10 Republican senators to vote in favor of it.
Against the backdrop of the January 6 storming of the Capitol, such a background check will likely feature provisions that target so-called “extremists.” The ruling class has routinely lumped average gun owners with domestic extremists and will most certainly use recent events to justify encroachments on people’s right to bear arms.
Biden is a veteran of the gun control movement, as evidenced by his sponsorship of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. With Democrats in control of all branches of the federal government, they will certainly move to pass gun control. However, their success is not guaranteed due to moderate Democrats like Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Joe Manchin not being completely receptive to radical gun control that could alienate them from their more right-wing constituents.
Nevertheless, the Left has shown that it’s willing to act regardless of the political context. Keeping this in mind, gun owners must be ready to beat back any kind of gun control coming from D.C. Such fights will allow the Right to rebuild its forces and make a splash in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race.
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