TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – A proposed assault weapons ban was the subject of tough questions Tuesday from justices on the Florida Supreme Court.
The proposed ban on assault weapons had enough signatures to get a Supreme Court review of its language, even though they didn’t make the 2020 ballot.
Sponsors were peppered with questions.
Justices wanted to know if voters would really understand the full impact of the amendment from the summary on the ballot.
“It seems to me that the chief purpose of this amendment is to eliminate long guns over the next generation in the state of Florida,” said Justice Ricky Poston.
Gun rights groups called the amendment’s definition of an assault weapon misleading.
“This definition is ambiguous and does not make it clear to voters the full scope of firearms that would be banned under this amendment,” said Amber Nunnally with National Shooting Sports.
Afterwards, amendment author Jon Mills voiced optimism and concern.
“The 2022 ballot is a go, so there the court is always an education,” said Mills. Founder Gail Schwartz, whose nephew Alex Schachter was killed in the Parkland massacre, said win or lose in the court, the effort isn’t going away.
“Our amendment will save lives. Our amendment will help prevent the next Parkland and Pulse. Our amendment will help end the epidemic of mass shootings,” said Schwartz.
Sponsors spent all of 2019 gathering signatures and still fell over 600,000 short, raising questions of whether they will make the 2022 ballot.
Sponsors blame lawmakers, who enacted new regulations on how petition gathers are paid last year.
Ban Assault Weapons Now has collected just over 147,000 signatures, 766,000 are needed to get on the ballot, and the number could increase based on turnout in 2020.