Florida gun control advocates are pushing local legislatures to ban semiautomatic rifles with high-capacity magazines. Passing a ban on semiautomatic rifles is an ambitious plan, especially in a Republican-controlled state senate. Survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and victims of the 2018 Parkland High School shooting are advocating for the political movement. Gun control advocates will seek to propose an amendment to the Florida constitution on the 2020 ballot.
Ban Assault Weapons Now is Behind Proposed Amendment
Proponents of the semi-automatic weapon ban have formed a political committee called Ban Assault Weapons Now. The group has some bipartisan support. Al Hoffman, a Republican donor has already contributed $260,000 to the campaign. The group needs to gather the required amount of signatures to propose an amendment to the Florida constitution on the 2020 ballot. If the committee does acquire an adequate amount of signatures, the Florida Supreme Court must approve the language of the ballot proposition.
The Ban Assault Weapons Now committee contends that many of the United States’ deadliest mass shooters have used semi automatic rifles. The Parkland shooter and the Las Vegas shooter, who killed 58 people, both used semi automatic rifles in their attacks.
Opponents of the Proposed Constitutional Amendment
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is opposed to the proposed amendment. One of the NRA’s most powerful lobbyists, Marion Hammer, lives in Florida. Further, Florida law has always been comparatively lax when it comes to gun restrictions. Some Florida Republicans are also opposed to outlawing semi automatic rifles. Republican Representative James Grant stated that the proposed amendment’s language is so broad that it could outlaw sporting guns in Florida.
What Types of Weapons Would the Proposed Amendment Ban?
The Ban Assault Weapons Now committee is seeking to ban sales of all new semiautomatic rifles and shotguns that are capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition in a detached or fixed magazine. The language of the proposed ban would target AR-15s and AK-46s. Most of these two kinds of popular rifles come with 30 round magazines. Some of the mass killers used semi automatic rifles with 100-round magazines.
Does the Committee Have the Support of the Voters?
The committee has only collected 106,000 signatures so far and needs a total of 766,000. A recent poll found that 59% of Florida voters supported a ban on assault weapons. Under Florida law, a constitutional amendment requires 60% voter support in order to pass.
If You are Facing a Gun-Related Criminal Charge in Florida, We can Help
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