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FL – GUN RIGHTS – Editorial: Intent of gun-control amendment must be clearer

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is taking heat from gun control activists for challenging a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban “assault” weapons. Slated to appear on the November 2020 ballot, and sponsored by a group called Ban Assault Weapons NOW!, the proposal would outlaw semiautomatic rifles and shotguns that, according to its language, are “capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once” in a magazine that is either fixed or detachable. In a document filed with the Florida Supreme Court on July 26, Moody asserts it should be excluded from consideration by voters. The amendment summary that voters will read at the ballot box, she writes, is “not clear and unambiguous,” as state law mandates, and furthermore is “affirmatively misleading” because it fails to inform voters of its “chief purpose.” Moody’s critics balk, claiming that in order to do the partisan bidding of the National Rifle Association, she wants to thwart voters who demand stricter gun control, an issue they say is gaining momentum in the wake of horrific shootings in El Paso and Dayton — and with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre still vivid in many memories. The attorney general is correct, however. As written, the summary of the amendment that voters will see at the ballot box does not fully convey what gun controllers seek. Thus, the Supreme Court should give her arguments great weight in deciding whether this change remains on the ballot. For one thing, Moody is right about the “practical” effect. Many popular semiautomatic rifles that anti-gun advocates want to declare “assault weapons,” such as the AR-15, come with a standard magazine that exceeds 10 rounds. Those would be gone first under the amendment. Yet gun owners, and law enforcement officials, know that many rifles that come with 10-round magazines, which supposedly would remain legal, are what’s known as “plus 1.” In other words, one can load a bullet into the chamber and then add a round to the magazine, essentially increasing capacity to 11 bullets. These too would be banned under the amendment’s language.  [full article]

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