Group pushing assault weapons ban in wake of Parkland picks steering committee

assault rifle

Ban Assault Weapons NOW on Monday announced the first wave of members for its steering committee as it ramps up efforts to put an amendment banning assault weapons on the 2020 ballot.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch and Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell will serve as campaign co-chairs, while nine individuals – four with ties to those slain at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool – will serve on the steering committee.

“I am proud to join Mayor Campbell and our leadership committee at the outset of this incredibly necessary effort. Our mission became unfortunately clearer last week when yet another mass shooting took place in Tennessee. Like Parkland, like Pulse, the murderer there was armed with a military-style assault weapon,” Deutch said.

“We know these weapons of war are uniquely capable of causing death and devastation. We know that Congress and the Florida legislature have refused to act to get them off store shelves and out of civilian hands. But I also know the people of Florida want these weapons banned—and together, we will act where our elected leaders have failed us.”

Debbie Hixon, the widow of slain MSD athletic director Chris Hixon, was one of the members announced Monday.

“My husband served in the Persian Gulf, and saw what weapons of war look like. These weapons are designed to do one thing: kill. There is simply no place for them in civilian life,” she said.

Also on the committee: Florida League of Women Voters President Patricia Brigham; former Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery; Fred Guttenberg, father of Parkland victim Jaime Guttenberg; Robert Kelley, Founding Partner at Kelley/Uustal; Christine Leinonen, mother of Pulse victim Drew Leinonen; Gail Schwartz, aunt of Alex Schachter, who was killed at MSD; Philip Schentrup, father of Parkland victim Carmen Schentrup; and Philip Shailer, former Republican State Attorney for Broward County.

BAWN said the committee is still being formed and more names will be added to the list at a later date.

The group announced last month that it is working with University of Florida law professor and 1998 Constitution Revision Commission member Jon L. Mills to draft a proposed amendment for the 2020 ballot. It plans to begin collecting petitions this summer.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Richard Nascak

    April 30, 2018 at 10:02 am

    “My husband served in the Persian Gulf, and saw what weapons of war look like. These weapons are designed to do one thing: kill. There is simply no place for them in civilian life,” she said.

    Your husband never saw an AR-15 in the Persian Gulf or anywhere else while in uniform. The military does not use them. The AR-15 has never faced an enemy across a battlefield anywhere on the planet. By definition, it is not a weapon of war.

    • Scott L Prentice

      April 30, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      Very good comment! These gun grabbing liberals don’t know the truth about history or our constitution. Our rights to bare arms are to protect our selves from our own government.

    • DM

      May 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      The AR 15 is a derivative of the M4 and you damn well know it. The primary and perhaps only difference is the 3 round automatic burst round. You can argue semantics, but the only reason it doesn’t include that feature is to make it legal to sell without all the restrictions of automatic weapons.

      She is wrong that it is designed to kill. It is actually designed to grievously wound people so as to tie up other SOLDIERS trying to deal with the wounded SOILDIERS ON THE BATTLEFIELD.

    • Randy Chase

      May 3, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      Shut the fuck up! Mr. Gun Nut.

  • Frankliin Henry

    April 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Florida Fair and Open Primaries is a group I joined in their attempt to get proposal 62 on the
    ballot. This amendment recommendation to the Constitutional Revision Committee dealt with having non-partisan primaries so everyone would have a chance to vote for the candidate of their choice with top two advancing to the general election. Although a Commissioner wrote the proposed amendment and it was approved by the Ethics and Election Committee after several town halls. Six days later it was voted down unanimously by a committee called the General Provisions Committee with little discussion.

    We are regrouping and filing a petition as I write this reply to your situation. Since both groups will be obtaining signatures of people who have to be verified and possibly checked to see if they using the name on their voter’s ID: I would like you to know we would happy to join forces. By this, I mean presenting your petition, along with ours at the events we are soliciting voter’s signatures
    There are other organizations that are obtaining signatures for petitions concerning government reform which is why our system is deadlocked. I don’t know the exact stats but I do know the vast majority of the electorate want to ban assault weapons. It is time to take our country back.
    I hope your board will consider this proposal. Please present it to them.

    • jason

      April 30, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      You can’t even define what an “assault weapon”. You probably know very little about firearms, statistics surrounding them or the Constitution. Don’t you have some bread to bake or weeds to pull?

  • Raleigh

    May 1, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Well, Representative Deutch (D) and Mayor Campbell (D)…. both of you you were supporters of the Promise Program, that allowed Felonies to be avoided and ultimately allowed the shooter to obtain his guns. And the League of Women Voters… supporting the Anti-Gun marches… no bias there huh?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn