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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody calls proposal to ban assault weapons 'a trick'

'Definitions... that's everything to us'
Posted at 6:43 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 18:43:55-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It’s “a trick.”

That’s what Florida’s attorney general is calling a ballot measure to ban assault weapons in the state.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has recommended the Florida Supreme Court disqualify the measure during its upcoming review.

Moody said in a letter to the court earlier this week, the initiative wasn’t making clear passage would virtually ban every semi-automatic long-gun in the state.

“My job as attorney general is to look at the proposal in its current form and whether or not that’s misleading to the voters,” Moody said while speaking at an event in the Tampa area on Tuesday. “This clearly is.”

The measure's five-sentence summary defines “assault weapons” as “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition . . . in a fixed or detachable magazine.”

The definition also had state economists scratching their heads. A group is set to analyze the potential financial impact of the measure but said they too need better definitions before writing a report.

“That is everything to us,” said Coordinator Amy Baker with the Office of Economic & Demographic Research. “That’s how many sales are potentially being affected.”

Ban Assault Weapons NOW, the group behind the measure, feels the definitions are clear enough to get through the courts. They’ve accused the AG of playing politics with the gun lobby.

“It’s not surprising that the attorney general is now openly opposing measures to protect families, playing politics with Floridians’ lives in order to appease the NRA,” said Gail Schwartz, who leads the effort. “Year after year, elected officials like Ashley Moody have done nothing on this issue, as more and more families like my own are forced to reckon with the loss of our loved ones due to military-grade assault weapons at Parkland, at Pulse, or at the next mass shooting.”

Even if the ban makes it through the court review, it is still short of the signatures needed to get on the 2020 ballot. At last check, the group said it had more than 100,000 of the 766,200 signatures needed to qualify.