Fayetteville, AR – -(AmmoLand.com)- A Florida group, Ban Assault Weapons Now (BAWN), is seeking to put an initiative on the ballot for 2020 that would transform the state from one of the most respectful of gun rights—including being the leader of the modern concealed carry licensing movement—to one of the most oppressive.
In the organization’s view, Congress and the Florida legislature have not passed laws that satisfy them, so they must use the vote to impose prohibition of what they regard as weapons of war.
The proposed amendment to the state’s constitution starts with the declaration that “The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.” This allows a lot of room for legislators to attack carry rights, but the first part of the sentence sounds good in principle. The rest of the provisions, though, go on without a trace of shame to propose violations of the first paragraph.
- A mandatory delay of three business days would be required between the purchase and delivery of a handgun unless the buyer has a carry license that the state honors.
- An assault weapon is defined as any semiautomatic long gun that can hold more than ten rounds, whether in a fixed or detachable magazine and regardless of any other features, including caliber.
- Possession of such firearms would be illegal unless the owner is an armed agent of the government or registers any such gun bought before the ban would come into effect.
I must give these anti-rights people credit for something. They are learning how guns work and refining their proposed violations accordingly. Many of them claim that they don’t want to ban all guns. They only want the icky ones removed from society, or so they tell me. But I’ve never found that claim credible, and here, BAWN is engaged in a rare moment of honesty. Banning future sales of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns that can hold more than ten rounds in some manner effectively means that all semiautomatic long guns would be off the legal market in the state. Even if you only have magazines for your rifles that are legal in Canada—limited to five rounds—if your gun can take magazines of higher capacity, it would appear to qualify under this ban. And even if your self-loading long gun currently has only approved-capacity magazines available to it now, all that would be required is for some manufacturer to produce an “ammunition feeding device” that requires Florida politicians to take off their shoes so as to count all the rounds, and lo! Your gun is a naughty one.
To be placed on the 2020 ballot, the initiative will need 76,620 valid signatures for a review by the Florida Supreme Court, 766,200 to be placed before voters, and sixty percent of total votes to pass. Signatures must be in by the 1st of February 2020 for the official count. As of June, BAWN claims to have over a hundred thousand. The state’s attorney general, Ashley Moody, has made a filing with the Florida Supreme Court, saying that the initiative is “clearly and conclusively defective,” so where things will go with this proposal is anyone’s guess for the moment.
As I suggested above, this ballot initiative makes abundantly clear that BAWN wants to see all semiautomatic long guns banned.
They’d likely claim that I’ve misread their intentions, but the details, something that gun control advocates like to gloss over, leave no room for another interpretation. Their label, weapons of war, doesn’t improve things since I’ve yet to have anyone name for me a gun design that has not been used by some military in one or another battle. Are there guns that are suited for the particular conditions of organized combat? Yes. But what gun control advocates don’t like to admit is the fact that a fight can come to anyone at any time or place. Disarming the law-abiding—or more likely transforming the law-abiding into armed resisters—is not going to save lives. All that I foresee happening is a backlash against this ballot initiative that will push Florida in directions that I doubt BAWN wants to go.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.