The mother of a Pulse nightclub shooting victim in Orlando has mischaracterized language in the Second Amendment to promote a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would ban so-called “assault weapons” and the campaign received support from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in an editorial that admitted, “A state ban on military-style assault weapons won’t end gun violence.”
The editorial, filled with inflammatory language quickly added, “But it’s a start.” The Pulse shooting was almost three years ago.
The proposed amendment defines “assault weapon” as “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition feeding device.”
That would appear to include any .22-caliber rimfire sporting rifle that can accept an after-market 15- or 25-round magazine.
But in an effort to push the amendment, Christine Leinonen, mother of a Pulse victim, was quoted by the Orlando Sentinel stating erroneously, “The Second Amendment says guns should be well regulated.”
But that’s not what the Second Amendment says. The Second Amendment says the militia should be “well-regulated,” which in those days translated to well-trained. Here is the wording:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Leinonen completely ignored the most important clause of the amendment, the part that says “shall not be infringed.”
A state constitutional amendment that bans an entire class of firearms is considered by rights activists to be an infringement, especially when the type of firearm is the most popular rifle in America, and is in common use across the map for hunting, target shooting, home defense, predator control and competition.
The proposed amendment now has reportedly gathered enough signatures to qualify for a constitutional review. That was an important first step for Ban Assault Weapons NOW!, described as a “gun reform group” by Creative Living in Tampa.
But that’s gun prohibition, not reform, regardless of the label, according to rights activists. And, as the Sun-Sentinel editorial noted, anti-gunners have a major hurdle still to overcome. They need 766,200 verified voter signatures in order to qualify for a spot on the ballot in November 2020, and this is a signal for Florida gun owners to pay attention to history at the far corner of the national map.
Last year, gun prohibitionists pushed through Initiative 1639 in Washington State that, among other things, invented a definition for the so-called “semiautomatic assault rifle,” a gun that veteran Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said in an interview earlier this year doesn’t really exist.
That measure passed because wealthy anti-gunners dumped millions of dollars into the campaign, and too many gun owners didn’t vote. Also, Knezovich said many voters in his county supported the measure mistakenly believing it was a school safety proposal when it actually creates among the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.
Washington gun owners are supporting a federal lawsuit challenging provisions of the initiative. That lawsuit was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
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