ORLANDO SENTINEL.COM February 5, 2020 – A gun control group is vowing to continue its fight to get an assault weapons ban on Florida’s ballot, despite coming up short on signatures and facing opposition from GOP leaders in Tallahassee.
Ban Assault Weapons Now, which was founded after the Parkland massacre, has shifted its focus now to the 2022 election. Last year, the Florida Legislature passed a law that made it harder and more expensive to get on Florida’s ballot.
“It threw a giant monkey wrench into our plans,” said Gail Schwartz, chairwoman of Ban Assault Weapons Now. “The Legislature wants to make it impossible for people to have a voice.”
The group was able to get about 145,000 verified signatures, far short of the 766,200 that needed to be submitted by Feb. 1. The initiative is also facing a legal challenge from Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody and the National Rifle Association. The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the issue. The Supreme Court is charged with evaluating ballot initiatives to ensure they are not misleading.
Opponents argued voters won’t understand the scope of the ban, which they say would prohibit guns not commonly thought to be assault weapons. The initiative’s ballot summary defines an assault weapon as a semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of carrying more than 10 bullets. The court will consider the arguments and make a ruling, which could force the ballot summary to be rewritten if it is deemed to be misleading. That would further hamper the campaign’s efforts to get on the 2022 ballot. [full article]