In the wake of recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Florida gun control groups are seeing a clear path for further gun restrictions in the Sunshine State.
Gun control proponents championed the recent decision by a Leon County Circuit judge which found a state law authorizing fines and penalties on local municipalities that wanted to approve stronger gun regulations unconstitutional.
Over the summer, more signatures have come in to put a proposed amendment on the ballot next year which would enact one of the strongest gun control measures in the country. To be added to the Florida Constitution, 60 percent of voters need to approve a proposed amendment.
The proposed ballot language would make “semiautomatic rifles and shotguns that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once” either with a magazine or ammo-feeding devices illegal. Two groups leading the charge to get the amendment before the voters in November 2020 are Moms Demand Action and Ban Assault Weapons Now.
However, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody continues to stand against the proposed amendment. Moody’s office opposes the language included in the proposed amendment.
“It’s deceitful and misleading,” said Moody about the language. “This particular amendment would mislead voters into thinking they were banning a specific type of firearm when, in fact, they were banning virtually every long gun including those that have been passed down from generation to generation in Florida.”
The gun control groups maintain their proposed amendment would allow a “grandfather clause” that would let people keep guns they already own–however they also noted that gun owners would be required to register their guns.
The proposed amendment has enough signatures to be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court but, because Moody thinks the language is misleading, she wants the court to reject it for the November 2020 ballot.
Ban Assault Weapons Now and Moms Demand Action have attempted to paint Moody as nothing more than a tool of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Moody’s office also plans will to challenge the Leon County Circuit judge’s ruling on not penalizing local cities that want to promote more gun control legislation.
“My responsibility is to the citizens of this state to tell you whether or not we believe (the language) meets that statutory definition of clarity and, if it’s going to mislead the voters, we have to communicate that to the court,” Moody insisted.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.