“Assault weapon” under the proposed Florida ballot initiative.
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- In a recent video on politics at wtsp.com, the station plays quotes from the Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Chair of Ban Assault Weapons Now, Gail Schwartz. The Attorney General says the initiative is deliberately deceptive, a trick. Schwartz says the AG is lying. From wtsp.com:
In a letter to the court submitted Friday, Moody called the language in the proposed amendment “misleading,” saying the court should move to keep the matter from voters. She argues that the proposal goes far beyond banning so-called assault weapons and could also ban the possession of all semi-automatic long guns.
Backers of the proposed amendment fired right back, saying the attorney general was the one being deceptive.
“She is intentionally lying about our amendment to Floridians. We are not looking to ban anyone’s hunting rifles, that would be absurd,” said Gail Schwartz, Chair of Ban Assault Weapons NOW’s committee. “I think it’s pretty obvious that the attorney general is afraid of bringing this issue directly to the voters.”
Who is lying? Here is the wording of the ballot petition proposed to be added to Article 1 Section 8, Right to Bear Arms, of the Florida State Constitution.
Spacing has been slightly changed to make the provisions more readable. The original format can be viewed at the source. From dos.elections.myflorida.com:
e) The possession of an assault weapon, as that term is defined in this subsection, is prohibited in Florida except as provided in this subsection. This subsection shall be construed in conformity with the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court.
1) Definitions –
a) Assault Weapons -For purposes of this subsection, any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than 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.
c) Ammunition-feeding device -For purposes of this subsection, any magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device for a firearm.
2) Limitations –
a) This subsection shall not apply to military or law enforcement use, or use by federal personnel, in conduct of their duties, or to an assault weapon being imported for sale and delivery to a federal, state or local governmental agency for use by employees of such agencies to perform official duties
b) This subsection does not apply to any firearm that is not semiautomatic, as defined in this subsection.
c) This subsection does not apply to handguns, as defined in Article I, Section 8(b), Florida Constitution.
d) If a person had lawful possession of an assault weapon prior to the effective date of this subsection, the person’s possession of that assault weapon is not unlawful (1) during the first year after the effective date of this subsection, or (2), after the person has registered that weapon by make, model, and serial number with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or its successor agency, as designated by the legislature. Registration records shall be available to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for valid law enforcement purposes but shall otherwise be confidential.
3) Criminal Penalties -Violation of this subsection is a third-degree felony. The legislature may designate greater, but not lesser, penalties for violations.
4) Self-executing -This provision shall be self-executing except where legislative action is required in subsection 2)(d) to implement registration of weapons lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of this subsection or in subsection 3) to designate a more severe penalty for violation of this subsection.
5) Severability -The provisions of this subsection are severable. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or subsection of this measure, or an application thereof, is adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction other provisions shall continue to be in effect to the fullest extent possible.
6) Effective date -The effective date of this amendment shall be thirty days after its passage by the voters.
Here is what Gail Schwartz said:
“She is intentionally lying about our amendment to Floridians. We are not looking to ban anyone’s hunting rifles, that would be absurd,” said Gail Schwartz,
If you parse her sentence, very carefully, she could be considered truthful.
First, the proposed Constitutional amendment does ban enormous numbers of hunting rifles. Nearly all semi-automatic hunting rifles fit the definition. Virtually all .22 rimfire semi-automatic hunting rifles (the most popular kind) fit the definition.
But, when saying “anyone’s hunting rifles,” Schwartz could claim she is only talking about hunting rifles currently owned by individuals, not, “Marlin’s hunting rifles,” or “Remington’s hunting rifles” or “Ruger’s hunting rifles.” Rifles currently owned by individuals will not be banned. They will be required to be registered within the first year after the ban is put in place. Rifles that are registered will not be banned, for now.
There is no provision for more of the banned rifles to be added in the future. The current rifles would be “grandfathered.”
In New Zealand, semi-automatic rifles that hold more than ten rounds were recently banned. The government has encountered great difficulty in confiscating them because they do not have a comprehensive registration system.
If you own your hunting rifle, you can keep your hunting rifle… for now. If you want to own a similar hunting rifle, legally, in the future… too bad.
The reader can make their own determination about who is lying. It depends on the meaning of “anyone’s.”
All of this will have no effect on mass murder and only punish the lawabiding.
Why? Consider parts 2) b) and c). The amendment does not apply to guns that are not semi-automatic, or to handguns, most of which are semi-automatic. Handguns and non-semi-automatic rifles and shotguns have been commonly used in some of the most horrific mass murders.
Semi-automatic rifles are used, by themselves in only 13% of mass public shootings. They are used in conjunction with other firearms in another 15%. They are not used in 72% of mass public shootings.
An old, organizational axiom is never bring a problem to the organization structure without a solution.
How can we drastically reduce these mass public killings with firearms? Change the driving force behind them. Stop the copycat effect. Stop the media from promoting them for profit and ideology.
Voluntary, small changes in media coverage of mass killings with firearms could significantly reduce the number of mass murders. Those in the media know this. They prefer to have more mass killings for-profit and ideological reasons. Call it “greedeology.” They are able to rake in dollars and ratings while pushing for more infringements on the Second Amendment. For them, a mass killing with a firearm is a “win-win.”
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.