Florida Supreme Court Throws Out ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Ballot Initiative

David Hogg is the “Chief Organizing Coordinator” behind the effort to ban “assault weapons” in Florida (Photo: BAWN Youtube)

The Florida Supreme Court has thrown out a ballot initiative that would have enshrined in the state constitution a ban on some kinds of semi-automatic firearms.

In a 4-1 decision, the court ruled that the initiative was defective because the summary of the amendment used unclear language that contradicted the text of the amendment.

The summary indicated that weapons possessed prior to the initiative would be exempt from the ban, which would have allowed those firearms to be transferred to another person. The actual text of the amendment, however, only allowed the owner of the weapon to be exempt.

“While the ballot summary purports to exempt registered assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to the initiative’s effective date, the initiative does not categorically exempt the assault weapon, only the current owner’s possession of that assault weapon,” the majority wrote. “The ballot summary is therefore affirmatively misleading.”

The ballot initiative was written and promoted by a group called Ban Assault Weapons Now (BAWN). They’re seeking to garner the 766,200 petition signatures necessary to get their “assault weapons” ban on the list of measures voters can consider for ratification in the state constitution.

SEE ALSO: Florida Attorney General Calls Proposed Assault Weapon Ban ‘Far-Reaching’ and ‘Misleading’

But Politico reported last week that the group has only garnered about 175,000 signatures, a 75,000 increase since GunsAmerica reported in June of last year that BAWN had broken the 100,000 mark. At 75,000 signatures per year, it will take the group more than a decade to reach the necessary threshold.

That isn’t stopping the group from continuing its push.

“The Supreme Court, now controlled by the NRA in the same way as our Governor and our Legislature, has fundamentally failed the people of Florida,” BAWN Chair Gail Schwartz said in a statement. “Not only has the Legislature recently made it harder to pass ballot initiatives, now the people must also face a court of rightwing ideologues who will only approve initiatives they agree with politically.”

“The Supreme Court’s rejection of BAWN’s amendment does not change our commitment to rid Florida of these killing machines,” Schwartz said. “After striving for two years for a safer state for our families, we’re just getting started.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban in Florida… Anti-Gun Groups Join Forces to Put it on the Ballot

Schwartz is the aunt of one of the victims of the Parkland massacre. The group also lists David Hogg as its “Chief Organizing Coordinator.”

Gun rights groups applauded the ruling, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which submitted a brief opposing the ban.

“On behalf of our industry members in Florida we are thankful the Florida Supreme Court rejected the Mayor Bloomberg-funded deceptive and misleading effort ballot initiative to ban state-wide the lawful sale of virtually all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in the state to law abiding Floridians after of background check,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.   

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

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  • Blow August 28, 2020, 10:44 pm

    You sad men. Either you don’t want the people to vote on this issue because you think the majority of voters are idiots, or you realize somewhere deep in your lizard brains that outside your little groups most people don’t want assault weapons around. You can hit something with a bolt action rifle then you are just masterbating with your friends in the woods.

    • LesBriganc October 9, 2020, 11:54 pm

      BLOW followed by HARD is the perfect moniker for you IDIOT !

    • Bob Rand January 5, 2021, 12:54 am

      You seem so smart. You must have a lot of experience masterbating in the woods. Zero experience with guns. Read the Constitution little girl. Is that you hogg boy?

    • B.Brown September 8, 2021, 3:42 pm


  • Jay June 18, 2020, 3:10 pm

    Mr. Hodges. I sympathize with your fight but it’s not the tools that you should be after but the user of the tools that need to be punished. Should cars be made illegal when a child dies in a hot car, no but the person who left the child in the car. Should knives become WMD if a person stabs random people in a subway station in NYC.

  • Norm Fishler June 12, 2020, 10:29 pm

    I have said since day one when Mr. Hogg first appeared that all he was really in it for was to get laid. Perhaps someone should arrange a blind date between him and Ms. Gretta together. If that doesn’t work out, Mr. Ken’s suggestion of a blow up doll might be a workable solution.

    • Bubbinator June 13, 2020, 5:45 pm

      Offspring of that pairing would be more ugly than Chelsea Clinton, dumber than Maxine Waters and as Incompetent as Barry Oblowjob. Makes the case for abortion.

  • David Welsh June 12, 2020, 10:16 pm

    The “supreme court” was supposed to say, no, you can’t vote away someone’s constitutional right. AND the Second Amendment says “shall not be INFRINGED, so go pound sand, you nasty people.

  • John Mac Intosh June 12, 2020, 9:12 pm

    Looks like the little snowflakes move against the rights of all Americans to own sporting firearms has melted down. Little bitches like this clown will be dealt with in the coming civil war.

  • Ken June 12, 2020, 3:13 pm

    Gees, is that poor kid still around? Will somebody please get him a blow up doll!

  • Andrew N. June 12, 2020, 2:01 pm

    Not that I wish harm to anyone, but David Hogg stabbed to death with a kitchen knife would be an interesting conundrum. Do they still go after “Assault Rifles”, or do they switch the narrative to “Assault Kitchen Knives” with their unlimited stabbing potential, since they never need “reloading”? Just a thought…Oh, and Black Lives Matter will matter to me when: A) ALL Black lives taken are handled / memorialized the same way, including Black-on-Black murders, and B) When it becomes ALL Lives Matter. “White Privilege” is a racist term, grouping one ethnic group under the same banner. If I said (Example only, I do not believe in racist drivel) “All Blacks/ Asians/ Hispanics/ whoever have inferior blood” (Definitely untrue, and the man who figured out blood typing and safe transfusions was Black) I would be vilified, rightly so, as a “Racist”. I’m getting awfully tired of hearing about BLM ONLY when it comes at the hands of a White cop, although the group that killed Mr. Floyd was rather diverse in ethnicity.

  • DaveGinOly June 12, 2020, 11:17 am

    I contend that constitutional amendments that infringe upon the natural rights of the people are themselves unconstitutional and can’t be adopted. For instance, the certification of a newly-ratified amendment that infringed upon a natural right is an act no state officer can do, because state officers are bound by their state constitutions as they ALREADY EXIST, and are therefore prevented by law from doing ANYTHING that infringes upon the rights of the people. (This is but one argument against the validity of such amendments – there are others.)

    Additionally, if they can adopt an infringement upon the right to arms, they can just as easily adopt an infringement upon any other right – infringements that the law more obviously does not permit. Appeals to the “will of the people” notwithstanding, because in America the rights of the people are beyond the reach of both the unruly mob and the organized body politic. States can just as well (which is to say, not at all) adopt constitutional amendments to abolish certain religions as they can certain firearms. I think most people would agree that allowing such acts, even by constitutional amendment, would be unwise.

  • Big Al 45 June 12, 2020, 10:45 am

    “Killing machines”. Now, that is laughable.
    The greatest “Killing machine” out there is humanity itself, Not any single instrument.
    Words have killed, Hate kills, and these are from people, not inanimate objects.
    One of the highest ratios of killing is done by Doctors in Abortion Clinics, tolerated by many of these same people calling for this ban.
    The hypocrisy of Schwartz and her ilk knows no bounds.

  • stuart nolting June 12, 2020, 10:18 am

    Hogg is a little left radical TWINK!

    • Kenneth Hoffman June 12, 2020, 1:19 pm

      I think we need to add “Kid” to the end of pencil-necked David Hogg’s title. That would at least give it credence. Once again, there are people who don’t even know the meaning of “assault weapons” who want to change the state constitution to fit their needs, beliefs and desires. Every gun, knife, bat, brick etc. is an assault weapon when in the hands of someone who wants to do harm to another person. Take away the guns and someone will find something else. I am a military-trained special forces veteran who can definitely show you that is true.

    • B.Brown September 8, 2021, 3:59 pm


  • RICHARD STERN June 12, 2020, 8:28 am


    Prohibits possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device. Possession of handguns is not prohibited. Exempts military and law enforcement personnel in their official duties. Exempts and requires registration of assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to this provision’s effective date. Creates criminal penalties for violations of this amendment.


    Florida law SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITS REGISTRATION (keeping lists) of firearms.

    And we ALL KNOW what registration leads to —> CONFISCATION.

    The definition of “assault rifle” is ARBITRARY AND FLAWED – and creates a MAGAZINE BAN at the same time (though it doesn’t specifically state that).

    And this got tossed ON A TECHNICALITY (because the description didn’t cover what was ACTUALLY IN the issue) – not because it is BLATANTLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    This is all part of the liberal bullshit. An “Assault Weapon” by DEFINITION – is one that is capable of FULLY AUTOMATIC FIRE (NFA CLass III).

    Sadly – with all northerners that are used to HAVING THEIR RIGHTS STRIPPED FROM THEM, escaping NY/NY/etc at a rate of 30,000 A MONTH – there may be enough liberals that DON’T CARE (or are against ANYONE OWNING – ANY FIREARM) that this COULD PASS at the ballot box.

    I hope the NRA has enough $$ in it coffers to FIGHT THIS ONE ALL THE WAY TO SCOTUS…


  • BirdogEd June 12, 2020, 8:16 am

    While your article is to be complemented on the conclusion of this horrific attempt by the left, to go but no. While your article is to be complemented on the conclusion of this horrific attempt by the left. going below the surface , One of the justices asked the plaintive about a father who owned and “assault weapon“, and died and left the rifle to his son, what would happen? The plaintiff attorney told the justice that the son would have to turn over The weapon even though it was registered; which of course is another disturbing aspect of this attempt to usurp the Second Amendment in the state of Florida. BTW, I watched this dialogue on the Florida channel and it is not hearsay. Respectfully yours from Florida.

  • Rangemaster11B June 12, 2020, 7:51 am

    Most CA initiatives would be thrown out on that basis. None are truthfully presented. It IS good to see Hogg boy rejected.

  • Rick June 12, 2020, 7:30 am

    Little Davy should be aware of the popularity of Hogg hunting in Florida.

  • Steve June 12, 2020, 6:46 am

    This made me laugh, among other things: The group also lists David Hogg as its “Chief Organizing Coordinator.” So, he’s their COC.

  • Leighton Cavendish June 12, 2020, 6:42 am

    With more and more retired people from Democratic strongholds…Florida is slowly going fro red to purple to blue…
    rather than ban things…which does not work…proven with prohibition AND the “drug war”…how about stiffer sentences for gun crimes…with no reduced sentences or early release?

  • Roger J June 12, 2020, 6:35 am

    This publicity driven sniveling punk was not behind this initiative. He was a tool of the Left used as the face of the scheme. His 15 minutes of fame was used and abused. Now he can go back to that sewer of lunacy Harvard and graduate with honors for protesting and return home with an 8th grade education.

  • David in MA June 9, 2020, 8:09 am

    Fla cannot change their constitution to where it will not be in alignment with the National Constitution, State Constitutions must be in concert with the National Constitution. SO, first these buggers have to get the U.S. Bill of Rights changed, then the U.S. Constitution (which will never happen, this is driving the democratic socialists crazy, so they turn to civil unrest using the idiots from the “south side” of town to burn, loot and cause violence), or all they “work” is illegal and un-Constitutional, like many other gun laws we are illegally subject to.

    • Paul June 9, 2020, 9:54 am

      The Problem is the liberals like loopholes, and until the supreme court and congress amend the 2A to end the loophole that is being exploited it will continue. How do you think bumpstocks and suppressors got regulated so easily?

      • Mike June 14, 2020, 9:36 pm

        What loophole 2A are you referring to?

    • SD June 9, 2020, 11:48 am

      Don’t be so sure David. These people don’t give up. If the democrats ever take control both the house and senate as well as the white house, they will pass anything they want. It will then go to the Supreme court and I know of 4 justices that would uphold it as well as a couple others who are questionable. If Joe Biden gets to nominate the next justice and the wimpy republicans don’t fight back, we could all lose our second amendment rights.

      • Dan June 12, 2020, 7:27 am

        That may be true, and they are well funded enough to not give up, since Bloomberg has a lot of money to burn.
        But what are the realistic odds of Joe being elected? That looks like a very long shot, at best, and almost impossible, at worst. Even many Democrats won’t vote for him. If Hillary could not get elected, then Joe can pretty much forget about it. His chances are far less than hers were.
        Yes, she almost won, but Joe won’t even come close, unless the election is rigged.

        • NC Libertarian June 12, 2020, 7:52 am

          Have you looked at the polls? Trump won 2016 with a minority of votes due to the electoral college functioning to help Republicans. He has never had majority support, and his approval ratings have done nothing but plummet in the last few months.

          If the election were held today, he would be slaughtered. And not because everyone likes Biden, it is not necessary for someone to like the person they are voting for. Most people that voted for Hillary didn’t like her, they just liked Trump less. Trump would get killed because he is a thoroughly unlikable person, and has done nothing to improve his image among Americans in the middle. And it is those in the middle that decide elections.

          So you go on convincing yourself that the only way Trump loses is if something is “rigged”. But you might want to step out of your bubble and look around at middle-America voters. I talk to 2016 Trump voters every day that say they regret ever voting for him in the first place, and will never vote for him again. That is the reality he has created for himself.

          • Rob June 12, 2020, 8:55 am

            You’re a moron. You watch too much cnn. Remember when the polls in 2016 that said “Hillary has a 95% chance of being president”? How’d that work out? You’ll cry like a bitch again in November when Trump wins again!

          • Rex June 12, 2020, 9:44 am

            You mean the same polls that had Hillary winning in a landslide in 2016? Fool.
            Why don’t you skedaddle back to Huffpost or where ever else you usually lurk.

          • NC Libertarian June 12, 2020, 1:47 pm

            Boy, you two are a couple of real winners. Hillary was never a big leader in the polls, like 3-4% most of the time, close to the margin of error. And almost exactly where she ended up winning the popular vote, by the way. Anybody that said she had a 95% was a moron. Most reputable sources had it around 30-40% Trump on Election day.

            But you go right ahead and think you got it all figured out. You are both completely incapable of any nuanced thinking. As soon as someone throws out things like actual facts disagreeing with your fantasy view of the world, the first thing you do is try and attack the bearer of the facts, not the facts themselves. Typical. You can’t imagine anything beyond your bubble.

            And for the record, I haven’t watched CNN in years, and I have never been to Huffington Post. I just renewed my NRA membership, belong to 2 gun clubs, and own multiple firearms. So clearly your instincts about people are worthless.

            Maybe if you could pull your head out of your ass long enough to look around, you would see that your attitude and approach sucks, and it is in fact gun owners like you that are the real problem in this debate. People like you, asshats that alienate everyone that doesn’t agree with you EXACTLY on EVERY subject, are the reason we are slowly losing this fight. The people in the middle that actually decide things like elections are completely turned off by your dickish attitudes.

          • Mike Donovan June 14, 2020, 9:41 pm

            The electoral college keeps the large and in most cases Liberal states from controlling and allows all states to have an even say in our government.

          • Kane June 20, 2020, 10:23 am

            The Republican party was established in the 1850’s, well after the republic was founded and so the statement that “the electoral college functioning to help Republicans” is a distortion of the political process. The republic was “functioning” as intended by the founding fathers where lesser populated areas of the nation would have a meaningful voice in a national election instead of a domination of urban centers such as NY and Philadelphia.

            Trump may very well be “a thoroughly unlikable person” but you also stated “it is not necessary for someone to like the person they are voting for.” The election is NOT being “held today” and will be decided in November by “the middle” based on variables such as the Wuhan virus, military operations and the economy.

            The Clintons are master politicians with a lot of personal baggage but were economically conservative and survived for two terms. Anyone who looked past the calm exterior of Barry Soetoro aka Obama would realize that he was a petty and vindictive man with few political skills and he somehow survived two terms. Trump’s massive flaws and your anecdotal “talk” with voters are no indicators that the election has already been decided, the ball is still up in the air. You can do what most CNN viewers do, root for a bad economy or a second wave. The other choice is also a tremendously flawed guy with no real plan and showing signs that he is all worn out, Joe Biden.

            I am sure you were proud of your post but the truth is that you made NO good points whatsoever.

          • B.Brown September 8, 2021, 4:18 pm


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