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Ashley Moody in Jacksonville.

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Ashley Moody sticks to her guns on assault weapon ban opposition

A “hide the ball” proposal, says the AG.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has earned plaudits from the National Rifle Association for opposing a citizen initiative banning assault weapons.

The proposed state constitutional amendment bans “possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic 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.”

Moody’s position in a petition filed to the Supreme Court: That the ballot language is “clearly and conclusively defective.”

The Attorney General contends “virtually every lawful owner of a semi-automatic long-gun will be forced to register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or that this registry would be available to all local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.”

Qualms with the wording of the amendment notwithstanding, America has again been rocked by mass murder, with El Paso and Dayton serving as the most recent Alpha and Omega, soon to be blurred into the larger narrative of 250 mass murders in America in the last year.

In the context of that tragedy, and whatever tragedies may come, Moody’s position regarding the ban language stays the same, she said in Jacksonville Monday.

It’s a “hide the ball” proposal, she said.

“This particular amendment would mislead voters thinking they were banning a specific type of firearm when in fact they were banning virtually every long gun,” Moody said.

While Moody was “horrified and saddened” by the events of the weekend, and contended that “we must get better at identifying and working together as law enforcement to protect Floridians against those who are mentally deranged who seek to do us harm,” an assault weapons ban as proposed is simply not the answer.

Moody said she was “obligated to pay attention to wording,” and “regardless of [my] own policy preferences,” the ballot language must be “clear and not misleading.”

While the amendment would cover incidents such as those in Texas and Ohio, the “deceitful and misleading … far-reaching and misleading” proposal “would also include guns like the gun my grandfather gave [his children] 60 years ago.”

“It doesn’t tell you that same [semi-automatic] gun that was passed down and used by the grandchildren for target practice … very young ages. Whoever had it right now would have to register, and when they pass, it would have to go out of the family,” Moody said.

“We’re talking about virtually every self-loading long gun … this is not what a voter when reading [would envision],” Moody said, sidestepping a followup about whether the State Legislature should handle the matter legislatively, saying the amendment would ban “virtually every firearm.”

Moody added that her opposition to the amendment was about language, not about the policy itself, which the NRA A rated Attorney General professes to be agnostic towards.

“If it’s going to mislead the voters,” Moody said, “we have to communicate that to the Court. “

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Frankie M.

    August 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    NRA pays good!!

    • Rich7553

      August 5, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Feel free to support your allegation. Political donations are public record.

  2. VoteDem2020

    August 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Moody absolutely has no cogent or intelligent defense for her position on this matter. She’s obviously in the NRA’s pocket on this – and that’s just sick!

    • Rich7553

      August 5, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      “The NRA does not care about the right to bear arms. They care about their profit margins.”

      Have you called the IRS to present your evidence about a 501(c)3 non-profit organization making profit? No? Why not?

    • Rich7553

      August 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      Political donations are public record. Present your evidence.

  3. David W

    August 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    She is absolutely correct. Such a gun ban will never pass in Florida nor should it. This has nothing to do with the NRA. It has everything to do with the absolute rights of every law abiding owner of semiautomatic rifles. And there are millions of us.

    • Ceefour

      August 6, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      And what will They do when every legal gun owner says no?

    • Kelley

      August 6, 2019 at 10:31 pm

      Well said!

  4. John Wright

    August 5, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    I and millions of Floridians are the NRA. AG Moody along with the NRA speaks for us!

  5. Nopenot Jones

    August 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Removing assault weapons does not solve the problems. All the UK. They just start bombing and stabbing. You can’t cure cancer with a bandaid. It’s does not address the issues of mental illness or stop the rhetoric affecting the weak minded. Rhetoric like you are spinning in this article.

  6. D.G. Zenwriter

    August 5, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Nothing personal, folks, but as a disabled vet with a diagnosed mental illness, I’m kind of tired being referred to as a deadlier weapon than an AR-15.

  7. Frankie M.

    August 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    I’ll take a knife over an AK-47 any day.

    The U.S. has enough homegrown crazies without enabling them with assault weapons. I feel bad for anyone who thinks the NRA speaks for them. The NRA does not care about the right to bear arms. They care about their profit margins. And the more they can rile you up the more $$ they bring in. There’s a reason membership spiked under Obama and Clinton. It went down with Trump.

    Fearmongering is their greatest weapon.

    • David W

      August 5, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      I have several of what would be described as “assault weapons”. Two of them are classified by the federal government as machine guns. I have thousands of rounds of ammunition. I have three suppressors. I have many 30 round magazines. Are you telling me that I am one of those enabled crazies? If so please elaborate.

      • D. G. Zenwriter

        August 6, 2019 at 12:52 am

        Simple. Explain your reason for owning that arsenal, including weapons currently classified as, by your own admission, illegal to own.

        If your explanation includes any reference to the potential acts taken against you by a monolithic government, any reference to unsubstantiated theories cited by so-called doomsday preppers, any reference to any other group that you perceive as a threat of bodily harm, or you cite yourself as someone willing to take the law and the decision about someone else’s life or death into your own hands, then that qualifies you as such.

        You might also explain the need for an arsenal as you define it when you can, in fact, only shoot one weapon at a time.

        Finally, explain why your arsenal is specifically designed to kill multiple people rapidly when self-defense does not call for that. Explain why you plan to take an offensive, rather than defensive, posture.

        My guess is you’ll self-qualify yourself as “enabled” long before someone qualifies me as simply “crazy.”

        • Rick marshall

          August 6, 2019 at 8:28 am

          Thankfully, we are not required to justify anything we own to you or anyone. The AG is absolutely correct in her opposition to this amendment. You should read it.

        • David W

          August 6, 2019 at 9:13 am

          Well, first of all, none of my weapons are “illegal.” As far as your demand that I explain to you my need for an “arsenal,” I do not have to justify anything I own to you. I have 12 watches. I only wear one at a time. My “arsenal” is not designed to “kill multiple people rapidly.” It may have that capacity, but only in the hands of a criminal. As far as this “offensive” vs “defensive” posture thing, you clearly have no understanding of the meaning of those words. An inanimate object is neither offensive nor defensive. But nice try.

    • Timothy

      August 7, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      The 2nd amendment covers arms. Not guns. So your knife is part of that arms part. Ask the citizens of the uk about knives.

  8. Gerald W. POLLOCK

    August 5, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Please look at the Semi Automatic ANDERSON ARMS 223 firearms that was used in the Dayton, Ohio shooting over the weekend. The firearm is actually registered as a PISTOL with a support brace calibered in 223. The barrel is less than 16 inches long from the breech to the end of barrel which classified the firearm as a SEMI AUTOMATIC PISTOL that comes factory equipped with a pistol support brace or without. The firearm is completely legal as a 223 PISTOL. The major problem with the language in the PROPOSED Language of the BAWN effort is that a 223 PISTOL will still be available as an option regardless of the effort to BAN SO CALLED “WEAPONS OF WAR” with the POLITICAL DEFINITION OF AN “ASSAULT WEAPON”. The problem with average non firearm educated folks offering proposed laws that effect US CITIZENS will result in the sales of MORE Semi Automatic 223, 5.56 and 308 caliber PISTOLS with support braces. Any one that can do basic math will understand a SEMI AUTOMATIC 223, 5.56 or 308 caliber PISTOL with a 7 inch or 10.5 inch barrel will be easier to conceal than a SEMI AUTOMATIC 223, 5.56 or 308 caliber RIFLE with a barrel longer that 16 inches. The real answer to the Firearm related crime problems in AMERICA is that only responsible firearm owners take the steps to learn FIREARM SAFETY and accept the awesome responsibility of exercising ones 2nd Amendment of the BILL OF RIGHTS ratified on DECEMBER 15th, 1791. Thank you Gov DESANTIS and AG MOODY for defending the US and FLORIDA CONSTITUTIONS.

  9. Gerald W. POLLOCK

    August 5, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Please look at the SEMI AUTOMATIC ANDERSON ARMS 223 Caliber firearm that was reportedly used in the DAYTON, OHIO shooting over the weekend. The Firearm is actually classified as a PISTOL with a support brace calibered in 223. The barrel is less than 16 inches long from the breech to the end of the barrel which classified the firearm as a SEMI AUTOMATIC PISTOL that comes with a pistol support brace or without. The firearm is completely legal as a 223, 5.56 or 308 caliber PISTOL. The major problem with the language in the PROPOSED AMENDMENT of the BAWN effort is that 223, 5.56 or 308 caliber PISTOLS will still be available as an option regardless of the effort to BAN SO CALLED “WEAPONS OF WAR” with the POLITICAL DEFINITION OF AN “ASSAULT WEAPON”. The problem with average non firearm educated folks offering proposed laws that effect US CITIZEN will result in the sales of MORE SEMI AUTOMATIC 223. 5.56 and 308 caliber PISTOLS with support braces. Any one that can do basic math will understand a SEMI AUTOMATIC 223. 5.56 or 308 caliber PISTOL with a 7 inch or 10.5 inch barrel will be easier to conceal than a 223. 5.5 or 308 caliber RIFLE with a 16 inch or longer barrel. The real answer to the Firearm related crime problems in AMERICA is that only RESPONSIBLE firearm owners take the steps to learn FIREARM SAFETY and accept the awesome responsibility of exercising ones 2nd Amendment of the BILL OF RIGHT ratified on DECEMBER 15th, 1791. THANK YOU Gov DESANTIS and AG MOODY for defending the US and FLORIDA CONSTITUTION.

    • David W

      August 5, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      The answer to firearm related crime has NOTHING to do with “RESPONSIBLE gun owners.” Your statement to the contrary is ridiculously ignorant.

      • Rich7553

        August 5, 2019 at 8:21 pm

        Yet every proposed regulation ONLY affects “RESPONSIBLE gun owners”.

  10. Frankie M.

    August 5, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    We need responsible gun owners to “take care of” the crazies. If we don’t have any responsible gun owners who will take care of the crazies…lmao at this logic. We’re the only advanced nation in the world with this problem. I’d rather have the nut jobs get creative via alternative means. Chances are they will blow themselves up before they take anyone else out. London has a lower murder rate than Jax. That’s right a city with 8M people has 79 murders this year. Jax has more than that with 1/10th the population. Marinate on that one gun nutz.

  11. Frankie M.

    August 5, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    We need responsible gun owners to “take care of” the crazies…lmao at that logic. Relax the NRA prays for these mass shootings to stir up their base. But if dead children in Sandy Hook can’t take your guns away nothing will. I’d rather these crazies get creative. Chances are they’d blow themselves up before anyone else.

    London is a city of 8M people. So far this year they’ve had 79 murders. Jax has 1/10th the population of London with more murders. How is the US the only advanced country in the world to have this problem? And don’t tell me about some dictator in a third world country unless you really want to compare us to some war torn country most people couldn’t find on a map.

    Instead our solution is to stick our head in the sands…see ostrich in the sand syndrome. Shrug our shoulders & offer up the obligatory thoughts & prayers. We turn our schools into prisons. We recommend arming our Correctional Officers errr teachers in those schools. This is the best we can do…smh.

    In the end maybe we deserve this because of our collective stupidity.

  12. Rich

    August 6, 2019 at 10:53 am

    If you are one that believes the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is lawful and constitutional, then you have believed a lie and a myth that Jefferson warned about. The States still retain their rights to this day to defy the federal judiciary, which has become an oligarcy. We just need strong statesmen as governors and legislatures to make that stand!

    In writing to William Jarvis, Jefferson said, “You seem . . . to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

    The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.”

  13. Rich

    August 6, 2019 at 10:54 am

    New Yorks 1,000,000 new illegal gun owners..

    REFUSED TO REGISTER THEIR MEDIA LABELED ASSAULT WEAPONS….

    One million plus new felons, all armed with scary, high capacity, media labeled assault weapons! The deadline for New York residents to register their so called “Assault Weapons” and “High” (read standard) Capacity Magazines came and went. An estimated million plus, formerly law abiding, gun owners have refused to comply with Cuomo and down state Democrat’s naive belief that the NY Safe Act, passed in a so called emergency session of the New York legislature, could force free people to register their hard earned property.

    And who can blame these once lawful gun owners, with a president that picks and chooses which laws he will follow or enforce, as well as an Federal Attorney General that operates daily with a Contempt of Congress charge and gun running scandal, “Fast & Furious”, hanging over his head. Why should the average New York joe, bother to follow the law, especially when it is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States, the one true law of the land.

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