Florida has a means of amending its Constitution through ballot initiatives. A special interest group hires some people to collect signatures in favor of a new amendment, and once enough people have signed, it is placed on the ballot. Should 60 percent of the voters on election day favor that amendment, it becomes part of the constitution.
This process was famously used to outlaw keeping pregnant pigs in pens, even though it later turned out that the small pens were needed to keep pregnant sows from trampling their young. The law only affected two farmers, who sued the state and at least one was awarded half a million dollars in damages.
Thanks to tricky wording, many voters in 2016 thought they were voting to approve casino gambling in Florida when they voted for an amendment backed by Disney and the Indian tribes, but instead voted to guarantee that we would never see casino gambling outside of an indian reservation in this state, because any casino to be opened will now require approval of voters in a statewide referendum.
With that in mind, know that there is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would do a few disastrous things to gun rights in Florida. Here is the wording:
The people of Florida declare that a well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of the State and further designate the National Guard of the State of Florida and organized police forces as its militia. The Militia, while on active duty, while training or in their training facilities shall possess all types of weaponry and arms required to defend the State. The weapons shall include, but not limited to fully automatic weapons, assault weapons, large magazine weapons holding more than seven rounds of ammunition and magazines with capacity over seven rounds. No other person entering or residing in the State shall possess any weapon or firearm that functions like or has the capacity of a military style weapon. Military style weapon means any gun with a magazine capacity of more than seven rounds of ammunition or any weapon capable of firing in fully automatic mode, any weapon capable of being modified in any manner to fire in a fully automatic mode or any weapon classified as a sniper rifle.
Any person other than the well-regulated militia who possesses such a gun or weapon, shall within one year of the enactment of this section surrender that gun or weapon to the local police or militia at which time that gun or weapon shall be destroyed. Possessing such a gun or weapon thereafter shall be a felony with punishment by up to one year in prison.
Further, to protect the population of the state no person shall possess a firearm of any kind if: 1) they have been convicted of a felony; 2) convicted of three or more misdemeanors; 3) had their drivers license suspended or revoked for driving under the influence, careless or reckless driving, or excessive speeding; 4) has been the subject of two or more domestic abuse emergency calls or investigations; 5) they are a person whose mental condition has been affirmed as temporarily or permanently psychologically disturbed by a person with a medical degree; 6) or if they are a person who has made any substantiated threat of violence against another person.
The provisions of this section are self-implementing and are immediately in effect upon adoption.
There are a few things here that are truly disturbing:
First, there is “has been the subject of two or more domestic abuse emergency calls or investigations” this would make me a prohibited person, because I was twice falsely accused by the same woman of domestic violence and we proved in court that I was nowhere near her on the dates in question, and the accusations were thus shown in court to be completely fabricated, it doesn’t matter, because it says “investigated.”
What about “suspended or revoked for driving under the influence, careless or reckless driving, or excessive speeding.” In Florida, your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked under a points system. Any at fault accident is 4 points. Speeding tickets are 4 points. If you have ever gotten three traffic tickets in 12 months your license was suspended for 30 days, and you lose your guns forever.
Even worse, “a person whose mental condition has been affirmed as temporarily or permanently psychologically disturbed by a person with a medical degree.” Note that it doesn’t say a doctor or a mental health doctor, nor does it say a doctorate or even masters degree. It says a person with a medical degree. Some nobody with an associate’s degree in nursing can now remove your right to own a gun. Any person who has ever been subject to the “Baker Act” will become a prohibited person.
This doesn’t even go into the definitions in the AWB section of the proposal. It proposes to ban firearms with a magazine capable of holding more than 7 rounds. This would make every firearm in my safe illegal, with the exception of a couple of 5 shot revolvers. Even my pump action 870 Wingmaster will hold 7+1 of the 2 inch shells. All semi-automatics are capable of being converted to full auto.
In short, if this passes, I have a year to get my firearms out of the state of Florida before I, and my firearms, become prohibited.