Gun control advocates just fired off a series of digital ads targeting Florida lawmakers during Session.
The five-figure ad buy from Ban Assault Weapons NOW will press lawmakers to institute legislative weapons bans.
“Our state and our children would be far safer if elected leaders passed legislation banning these weapons of war once and for all,” said BAWN chair Gail Schwartz.
The organization specifically supports legislation filed in the Senate (SB 370) by Sen. Gary Farmer, a Broward Democrat, and in the House (HB 65) by Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat. The identical bills would prohibit the sales or transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines and provide restrictions for continued ownership of such items.
The bill defines assault weapons as any automatic or semiautomatic firearm or any gun capable of burst fire. It lays out a series of gun styles, including all AR series of weapons. The Sig Sauer MCX Rifle used in the Pulse shooting in 2016 is specifically named, as is the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle used in the Parkland shooting in 2018.
Those shootings get highlighted in the digital banner ad campaign. One shows candles held at a vigil with the text: “Pulse happened. 49 MURDERED and assault weapons are still legal.” A second shows individuals holding crosses and candles at a vigil and contains similar wording: “Parkland happened. 17 MURDERED and assault weapons are still legal.”
Another banner reads: “If the Legislature doesn’t pass an assault weapons ban, THEY ARE COMPLICIT in the next tragedy.”
A final banner includes a call to action: “Hold hearings NOW for the bills to ban assault weapons. Learn more or contact your legislator.”
Schwartz, whose nephew Alex Schachter died in the Parkland shooting, said it’s important for the Legislature to act and prevent more mass shootings in the future.
“Through this effort, we are continuing to put pressure on our elected leaders to do what the majority of Floridians want, and what our communities need, which is to pass bills that we know will have a direct impact on reducing gun violence and mass murder. If legislators don’t act now to support this legislation, or even give it a hearing, they will be complicit in the next mass murder event perpetrated with an assault weapon in our state.”