Rod Thomson

Florida, the state with some of the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country, may be facing the reality of voters putting a full-on assault weapons ban into the Florida Constitution — bypassing a Republican-controlled Legislature that has resisted any such moves even after last year’s Parkland school massacre.

Gail Schwartz, the aunt of one of the students killed a year ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, held a press conference Monday to announce a petition drive she is spearheading to put a constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot in 2020 that would ban “assault weapons.” Her group is forthrightly named Ban Assault Weapons Now.

The language of the proposed amendment defines an assault weapon as “semi-automatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.” Such a broad ban could presumably capture everything down to a revolver, as it has an “ammunition-feeding device.”

“Try explaining to your children that they’re never going to see their cousin again,” Schwartz said, hitting the emotional buttons that are essential to restricting Second Amendment rights. “That’s not a conversation that anyone should ever have to make.”

Schwartz said that she believes her nephew — 14-year-old Alex Schachter — might be alive today if Nikolas Cruz did not have access to such a deadly weapon. Cruz killed 17 students and teachers at Parkland as an on-campus Broward County deputy hid outside. Schachter was one of the very first victims of Cruz, so it seems unlikely his life would have been spared if Cruz only had access to non-semi-automatic weapons.

Each mass shooting is used to evoke the necessity of getting guns out of the hands of Americans. A ban on what the media frequently calls “military-style” semi-automatic rifles — which basically means scary looking guns, regardless of relative lethality — has been a goal of gun control advocates nationally since a temporary federal ban expired in 2004.

In Florida, the push has been particularly fierce since the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were killed in 2016. But school shootings elicit the most emotional response for obvious reasons.

So Florida Democrats have been pushing hard for an assault weapons ban. But they are a minority in the Republican-controlled Legislature and their efforts go nowhere.

Last year Democrats tried to attach an assault weapons ban to the larger school safety bill that was ultimately passed in response to the Parkland shooting, which included armed security on school campuses. But the amendment failed, gaining only two Republican votes.

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In fact, Florida Republicans annually consider the opposite direction, proposing bills to allow conceal-carry permit holders to carry on college campuses.

However, a direct-to-voters constitutional amendment bypasses the Legislature. Florida now has a 60 percent threshold for amendments to make it into the state constitution. But last November, all but one proposed amendment met that, and that one had 58 percent. Given the media coverage and the number of mass shootings in the state, it would be foolish to think that such an amendment could not pass.

“I think there is a better chance of getting a citizens initiative on the ballot than getting the current Legislature to seriously entertain an assault weapons ban,” said Florida League of Women Voters President Patricia Brigham. Naturally, the “nonpartisan” League supports the ban.

She is right.

Possibly the larger hurdle is actually getting the proposed amendment on the ballot. That means gathering 766,200 legal signatures, which requires spending several million dollars to paid signature-gathering organizations.

The assault weapons ban campaign collected $439,888 as of the last filing date on Dec. 31. It will take a lot more and the question politically is whether Democrat organizations actually want to ban assault weapons, or whether they prefer to run on the issue of assault weapons so they can keep forcing Republicans to defend assault weapons used in mass shootings.

Polling on the issue in Florida is heavily dependent on the length of time between mass shootings. Right after the Parkland shooting, a Florida Atlantic University poll found that nearly 70 percent of Floridians support an assault weapons ban. But the same poll six months later found only 51 percent favored. How it would fare in the midst of a presidential election during heavy voter turnout is the question.

We may find out.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

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Florida Facing A Complete Assault Weapon Ban In 2020
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19 thoughts on “Florida Facing A Complete Assault Weapon Ban In 2020

  • February 12, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Get one in there first reaffirming the inalienable right to keep and bear arms.

  • February 12, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Mine is a Defense Weapon I’m good

  • February 12, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    The Parkland shooting was a Democrat shooting guaranteed to happen due to the Obama-backed PROMISE program that allowed Nikolas Cruz to violate law after law and not get charged. Florida officials had dozens of opportunities to take Cruz off the streets and that would’ve kept a gun out of Cruz’s hands – no need for another law. The problem isn’t “assault weapons.” The problem is mobster Democrats. Good God, Florida, WAKE UP!

  • February 12, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    I know of no one who will comply

  • February 12, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    come and take it…millions of floridians have these weapons and the stockpiles of ammo to defend them. keep pushing, nitwits

  • February 12, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Good to know, Florida…if anyone is stupid enough to want to live there, it will be good hunting for home invaders, robbers, and other scum desiring an unarmed populace to choose from. A man is Texas recently killed three men and seriously shot 2 others who had an idea that they would come to his house to 5ake what he owned, with or without his permission. He didn’t need a 30 round AK47, but he had one anyway…and they went to the grave and the hospital. I figure that Hero saved America about 1.5 million in incarceration for each of the dead dudes…

    • February 13, 2019 at 12:38 am

      We can only hope one of these politicians have an encounter with one of the home invaders, or illegals. Democrats are clueless until something happens to them.

  • February 12, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    I’ve got a better idea: Make a constitutional amendment banning the sale, ownership and use of firearms by liberals. Since it’s liberals and not conservatives who despise good morals and lack common sense and self control, this simple law will eliminate gun violence and reduce all shootings to acts of self-defense.

  • February 13, 2019 at 6:12 am

    So the liberal mentality says one nut case does a horrible act all citizens of the state must be negatively affected by it. Banning guns will not stop crime. Banning criminals will stop crime. Responsible gun owners are not the problem. I can lay my gun on a table until it turns into a pile of rust. It will harm no one. Its a people problem.

  • February 13, 2019 at 6:48 am

    If the shooter had used a Can Of gas… similar to the “Happy Land Fire”. Would this person still be trying to get Gasoline and Gas cans banned from the state of Florida? If they say no, then their motive is a gun ban , not concern for their dead ones who were killed by the hands of a killer.

  • February 13, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Whenever they nasally whine “You don’t NEED a “Weapon of WAR”” read this to them:
    WE pay for THEIR prepping….. as they attack Our RIGHT to keep a semi-automatic rifle
    I’d like to point out …. In order to “feel safe” the politicians “need” 7,000+ nuclear warheads ,,, at least 11 aircraft carrier battle groups and hundreds more ships , how many multiBillion$ F35s, how many Troops “under arms” and tanks, tanks beyond counting. The government is spending $700BILLION every year on GUNS. The Liars swear we are “imminent danger” of being overrun by Barbarian Hordes and that we should be terrified and give Them all the money they want, to buy every concievable weapon …..But we are “crazy” to want semiauto weapons to defend ourselves …….. then it surrounds it’s self with 24/7 ARMED bodyguards and WALLS, WALLS, WALLS for THEM, but you are a racist bigot for wanting a wall . …. and even THAT is not enough as they constantly tell they need MORE weapons and BIGGER weapons ….. then tells YOU that YOU are crazy for wanting semiauto weapons …… “they” have hidden bunkers, stocked with tons of food, medical supplies, equipment, all paid for by YOU, but you will not be welcome inside ….. but YOU are a NUT-CASE for prepping. …………… FTG.
    “The immutable right for defending one’s person has no ideological test. It is an absolute justification for protecting the distinct safety of your being. For this reason alone, no government can morally disarm its citizenry from possessing the effective means to guard your security. The obsession of the anti-gun crowd to ban weapons defies all rational understanding.”

  • February 13, 2019 at 7:23 am

    We are the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment.
    There has never been a government that banned it’s own ARMED FORCES from “Keeping and Bearing” ARMS.
    Find one government in the history of humanity that felt a need to document a “RIGHT” for it’s ARMED FORCES to possess ARMS.
    Oppressive Governments are ALWAYS banning the People’S RIGHTS to arms.
    The claim that the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment to give Our ARMED FORCES a “right” to keep and carry ARMS is S-T-U-P-I-D.
    The only reason for the Second Amendment is to clearly spell-out the GOD GIVEN RIGHT of INDIVIDUALS to keep & bear ARMS.
    The only reason for the BILL(list) of RIGHTS was to codify INDIVIDUALS’ GOD GIVEN RIGHTS.
    Has there ever been a government that was not chock full of it’s “rights” up to and including declaring itself to be the Lord God Almighty?! (Rome, Egypt, Israel,etc)
    Does the 1st Amendment mean the GOVERNMENT is allowed to give speeches? Try shutting up any Politician. But THEY would LOVE to shut YOU up, hence the FIRST Amendment.
    Anyone who tells you the 2nd Amendment applies to the Army or State Militia, is telling you they think you are STUPID.
    There has NEVER been a government that felt it had to codify it’s army’s/soldier’s “RIGHT” to “Keep and BEAR ARMS” because there has NEVER been a government that refused to allow It’s own soldiers to KEEP and BEAR ARMS!
    The Second Amendment was written for the People, like the other 9 Amendments in the Bill of Rights. This was confirmed by the SCOTUS in the DC vs Heller decision, where they stated that the “People” in the Second Amendment were the same “People” that are mentioned in the First and Fourth Amendment.
    The 2nd Amendment clearly codifies the “right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms”, and certainly not “the Militia”.
    Why would “the Militia”, a type of army manned by citizen-soldiers as opposed to full-time “regulars”, need a constitutional amendment to guarantee they have the right “to keep and bear arms”?
    Is there any specific statement anywhere in the Constitution that the army Congress is empowered to raise has the “right to keep and bear arms”? Of course not. …………. That is assumed.

    the 2nd amendment,, specifies that the RIGHT to bear arms is the right of the people,, NOT the militia,,,, it is the people who will make up the militia,, but the right is not the right of a “well regulated militia” it is the right of the people, We the people were BORN WITH INALIENABLE RIGHTS, meaning they come from GOD.

  • February 13, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Another unintended consequence of the unlimited progressive socialist democrat invasion from the north. They create what they moved away from, its just their nature.

  • February 13, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Where is Ruth Bader Ginsberg?
    Is the left hiding the body to try to run the clock out so that the president can’t appoint a replacement in his “last year” in office?
    Where is RBG?

  • February 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    We will NEVER give up our guns.

  • February 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Our Constitution is the ultimate law of this Nation! All territories when signing on as a State agreed to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and they cannot supersede our rights by passing laws without altering our Constitution. Any legislator who thinks otherwise should be hogtied, drug out to the nearest tree and hung by the neck until dead.

  • February 13, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    A vehicle is far more deadly than a gun for it can kill + maim dozens or even hundreds if run over in a crowds= a called in “bomb threat” would put school children outside in high numbers as the caller could be parked right there making the call w/several drivers ready to floor it.
    Or poisoning the water or food maybe worse….let alone a real bomb.
    The Far-Left Globalist’s fear an adequately armed citizen might for what they have planned= requiring a greatly disarmed public…first~!

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