We’ve covered Florida gun control group Ban Assault Weapons NOW! and their proposed ballot initiative that would ban “assault wepons.” But let’s take a closer look at what the proposal would actually do if it becomes law.
If approved by voters in 2020, it would outlaw most semi-automatic rifles, transforming Florida from a state with still somewhat fair-minded gun laws to the kind of draconian Second Amendment hellscape that Gavin Newsom or Andrew Cuomo would approve of.
First, let’s look at the broad definition of an “assault weapon” under this ballot initiative.
a) Assault Weapons – For purposes of this subsection, any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device. This subsection does not apply to handguns.
b) Semiautomatic – For purposes of this subsection, any weapon which fires a single projectile or a number of ball shots through a rifled or smooth bore for each single function of the trigger without further manual action required.
So pretty much any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun that can take more than 10 rounds of ammunition would be banned.
Now let’s look at what they determine a magazine to be.
c) Ammunition-feeding device – For purposes of this subsection, any magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device for a firearm.
Basically, it’s your typical magazine ban. Anything that holds more than 10 rounds would be verboten. So how do sections A, B, and C come together?
A Ruger 10/22 or Marlin Model 60 would be banned. Why? Because the Marlin comes from the factory with a 15-round magazine tube and the Ruger can accept magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
So the BAWN proposal doesn’t just target AR-15s and AK-47s and other scary black rifles. If this were to pass in 2020 and you possess a Marlin Model 60, you’d be facing a third degree felony charge in Florida. It would outlaw two of America’s most popular rimfire rifles purchased for young shooters, plinking, and fun.
Additionally, the definition of “ammunition feeding device” is left purposefully vague by including the wording “or similar device for a firearm.” That leaves lots of potential loopholes that would snag unsuspecting gun owners.
That’s not all. A Ruger PC9 Carbine, for example, will accept GLOCK 17 magazines. So because the PC9 can take magazines over 10 rounds, it would be prohibited, too.
Since the wording is so vague, some bright-eyed bushy-tailed Assistant State Attorney might even look at regular pistols magazines that can be used in the PC9 and say that since they’re similar, they’re banned too. That’s not clear, but I wouldn’t want to be the test case for that.
The only faint bright side I can see in this proposal is that law enforcement officers doesn’t get an exemption. The government is exempted, but not individual officers.
Some of you reading this know that I’m in law enforcement and you might be asking yourself why I’m happy about that. I’ll tell you why. If the average cop has to deal with the ramifications of their own privately-owned mags and firearms being banned, it means they won’t support it. When the 1994 Clinton AWB passed, a number of law enforcement officials didn’t care because they had a carve-out and written just for them.
You might ask, if this passes, can it be repealed? Or could the Republican-controlled legislature or Republican governor do anything. Sadly, no. Repeal could only be accomplished by amending the state constitution. And even if they could, the Republican Senate president and House Speaker are no friends of gun rights.
So hold on to your hats and buckle up. If BAWN and AFGSN can get the required signatures to put this on the 2020 ballot, it could very well pass in 2020. If that happens, Florida will become the South’s version of New York.