Citizens’ initiative filed to put assault weapon ban on 2020 ballot in Florida

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Voters may get a chance to vote to ban assault style weapons in Florida. 

Following the Parkland shooting, Democratic lawmakers tried to force a debate on banning assault weapons.

The effort was shot down, mostly along party lines, as students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas watched in dismay from the gallery, but family members of victims are now leading a new effort to put the question before voters in 2020.

We spoke over the phone with Ban Assault Weapons Now Chair Gail Schwartz. 

She lost her nephew in the Parkland shooting.

“We are tired of waiting for the legislature to do something. We’re tired of our children dying,” said Schwartz.

The proposed amendment would prohibit all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than ten rounds. 

The group has already collected more than $400,000 from just over 1900 supporters. 

The average contribution is small, just $145.00.

“This is going to be very expensive,” said Schwartz. “It’s a massive endeavor and it shows that Floridians are ready for change.”

Gun dealers Mark Folmar, who owns Folmar’s Gun & Pawn in the state’s capital, say when people worry their gun might be taken away, sales jump.

“There are people who don’t have one, who don’t want to have their right taken away and so they feel like, ‘well if I don’t then I never can,’” said Folmar.

If the amendment passes, those who already own assault weapons could keep the guns they already own, but would have to register their firearms with the state within a year the amendment’s effective date. 

So far no signed petitions have been verified by the state. 

Experts say it takes collecting at least a million signatures to meet the required 766,200 signatures to get on the ballot.

We reached out to the NRA and Mom’s Demand Action Against Gun Violence for this story. 

Neither were available for comment.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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