Ban Assault Weapons Now posts major haul despite March fundraising challenges
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About three quarters of the funding came from out of state.

A proposed assault weapons ban may have missed the deadline to make Florida’s 2020 ballot, but there’s growing power behind the measure as it blasts toward 2022.

Ban Assault Weapons Now raised $45,603 in March to support putting a citizen initiative on the statewide ballot. That’s on top of $180,500 raised in February after organizers failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the 2020 election.

The March haul came despite Florida becoming embroiled in the COVID-19 pandemic. The conditions led to poor fundraising among other constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot this year. Most groups raised nothing in March.

Indeed, the financial performance for BAWN stood ahead of efforts from every active citizen initiative sponsor, including those looking toward future election cycles.

Many of the 23 amendment sponsors listed as active have kept accounts open despite long runs without fundraising — sometimes for years. Personhood Florida, for example, hasn’t reported any financial activity since 2013.

Still, BAWN’s fundraising this quarter has exceeded all other groups put together several-fold.

Almost all of the group’s 2,461, contributions came from small donors. Rena Crespi of New York donated $1,500 and Ellen Arthur of Delaware donated $1,000. But all other donations were for $500 or less. The average donation in March was less than $18.50.

That money comes from all over the country, so it’s an open question of how reflective the financial success is of support for a weapons ban in a state often viewed as a laboratory for gun rights expansion. Only 621 donations came from Florida donors.

Momentum behind the measure has been fueled by high-profile mass shootings in the state of Florida. Survivors and family members of the Parkland and Pulse shootings have been among the vocal supporters of the measure.

Money and signatures won’t be the only challenges for the citizen initiative to overcome. Attorney General Ashley Moody joined gun rights groups in challenging the legality of proposed language for the amendment.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Regular Guy

    April 22, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Why are they fundraising for something no one will abide by if it passes? Is BAWN staffed by a bunch of mental midgets?
    FLAPOL – why do you give these losers screen time anyways? Bunch of gross harridans.

  • Capt. Tom

    May 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Out-of-state donations shouldn’t even be allowed! People from another state have no business trying to take my rights away here in Florida.

  • Roy

    May 1, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    The BAWN’s proposal is unconstitutional to ban commonly own firearms as it was held by the Supreme Court on the case District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570.

  • Richard Nascak

    May 1, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    Only 621 Florida donors. That’s pretty telling that this effort is being driven by carpetbaggers.

    • Eric Nix

      May 2, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      To be pro gun control one must be an idiot, a moron and and a fool.

Comments are closed.


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