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.