Assault weapons ban initiative misses deadline for 2020 ballot

assault weapons
Assault weapons ban bills in the Legislature have yet been heard

A proposed constitutional amendment to ban assault weapons in Florida won’t appear on the November ballot.

Ban Assault Weapons Now (BAWN) is now targeting the 2022 ballot after the initiative fell far short of the signature threshold needed for a vote this year. That group only gathered 147,304 of the 766,200 needed by Saturday to head to voters.

Signatures collected for this year’s ballot referendum won’t expire for the 2022 ballot.

Family members of mass shooting victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Pulse nightclub primarily comprise the Miami-based political committee. BAWN chairwoman Gail Schwartz‘s nephew, Alex Schachter was killed in Parkland.

“Despite the best efforts of the NRA and politicians in Tallahassee to place obstacles in our path, we will continue our fight to save lives by working hard to ensure voters have the final say over their safety in 2022,” Schwartz said. “Hundreds of thousands of Floridians from all across the state are behind this critical movement and it’s up to us to make sure we succeed where our so-called ‘leaders’ have repeatedly failed.”

For those who already own the potentially barred weapons, they would be required to register the weapon “by make, model, and serial number with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.” Absent that, possession of the weapons after a year of the amendment’s effective date would be illegal.

The amendment would also exempt “military or law enforcement use” of assault weapons.

Currently, seven states and the District of Columbia ban certain assault weapons. Democrats Sen. Gary Farmer and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith have repeatedly filed legislation (HB 627/SB 1208) for a ban, but it has not been scheduled a hearing in four consecutive years.

For the 2022 ballot, the 766,200 threshold, based each year on the previous election’s voter turnout, will likely change. But the initiative would still need the thumbs up from 60% of ballots cast.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Richard Nascak

    February 1, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    “Hundreds of thousands of Floridians from all across the state are behind this critical movement and it’s up to us to make sure we succeed where our so-called ‘leaders’ have repeatedly failed.”

    And the remaining millions see gun control for the lie it is.

    • Eric Nix

      February 1, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      The whole idea is both stupid and unconstitutional.

      • Mark Edgette

        February 2, 2020 at 9:05 am

        Even if the voters want assault rifle bans it’s still null and void Marbury vs. Madison 1803 U.S. Supreme Court just ignore it if it does become what the fuck can the state do about it absolutely nothing N.Y. tried the same thing the people told the governor to fuck off nothing happened.

      • Bob S Sss

        February 3, 2020 at 9:36 am

        I agree !

    • Mark Edgette

      February 2, 2020 at 9:10 am

      It’s in opposition to constitution therefore not enforceable and a violation of 18 USC SS 241,242 a very serious felony under federal law.

  • William Freeman

    February 1, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    This law would be unconstitutional and we, the people would not comply. Government has no right to create a law that violates our U.S. Constitution. Hammers kill more people than so-called “assault weapons” Guns save close to one-million lives a year.

  • Steven

    February 1, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Anything you hold in your hand and use to hurt someone can be considered an assault weapon! Clubs, fists, feet and knives kill more people than al” rifles combined! Leave me and my firearms alone!

  • Bob Martin

    February 1, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    If they can’t get 766,200 signatures, why do they think that they will have over 12,990,000 people vote for it?

  • Bryan

    February 1, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Well it is truly horrible what happened at every one of these shootings but, Chicago is a prime example that NO form of gun control works. The only thing it does is put law abiding citizens at risk!!

    If people want to see a true solution then vote for Constitutional Carry in our state.
    Yes it may seem strange putting more guns openly on our streets in our stores and visable for all to see but trust me logic alone proves it works!

    Picture two gas stations with four people in it. One is a gun free zone the other has a total of five people with firearms on thier hip on thier back ect… Wich one do you think will be Robbed?

  • Paul

    February 1, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    It would be unconstitutional!!! To ban citizens from owning weapon, while allowing military & law enforcement to have,. The 2nd amendment was put in place by our fore fathers to protect against Tyranny. To defend against all enemies foreign & domestic,.

  • Johnie Mullins

    February 2, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    “Out of my cold dead hands”! Charleston Heston

  • Big Chungus

    February 2, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    Shall not be infringed.

  • Craig Slizt

    February 8, 2020 at 8:59 am

    They claim the NRA etc. “placed obstacles in their path.” That’s why they didn’t get enough signatures? NRA obstacles? Give us the details, please.

Comments are closed.


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