Exactly which guns would be outlawed under a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at stopping Floridians from possessing assault weapons is posing a puzzle for state economists.
The economists’ task is to predict the financial impact that the proposed amendment, backed by the political committee Ban Assault Weapons NOW, would have on state and local economies.
But before they can get to the number crunching, the economists, meeting as the Financial Impact Estimating Conference, have to nail down the specific weapons the proposal seeks to ban.
“That is everything to us. That is how many sales are potentially being affected and what manufacturing activities are potentially being affected. It is a critical piece. It is not a cut-and-dry issue,” Amy Baker, head of the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, told reporters after a two-hour meeting Tuesday.
The perennially controversial gun-control issue became even more heated in Florida following last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Broward County. The Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at the Parkland school left 14 students and three faculty members dead and 17 survivors injured.
The proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit “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.” The measure, which would not prohibit handguns, includes an exemption for military and law-enforcement personnel “in their official duties.”
The proposal would allow people who already own assault weapons at the time the constitutional amendment goes into effect to keep them, if they register the guns with state law enforcement.
On Friday, Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the Florida Supreme Court — which reviews the wording of ballot initiatives to make sure they meet certain legal standards — to keep the proposal off the 2020 ballot, arguing that it is “clearly and conclusively defective.”
Moody wrote that the proposed amendment would “ban the possession of virtually every semi-automatic long-gun.”
The Financial Impact Estimating Conference must conduct an analysis of proposed constitutional amendments to let voters know whether the measures will increase or decrease costs or revenues and, if so, to what extent.
Ban Assault Weapons Now’s Ad
At Tuesday’s initial meeting on the assault-weapons proposal, Baker and the other members of the panel, who plan to hold four meetings on the initiative, laid out a plan to get the information they need.
The economists want to hear from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. They need input from Moody, along with state and local law enforcement. And they’re seeking insight from the proposal’s drafters, who are hoping to gather enough signatures — and receive the go-ahead from the state Supreme Court — to put it before voters next year.
Ban Assault Weapons NOW “does not anticipate any substantial change in state or local revenue nor any impact to state and local economies as a result of the passage of this initiative,” Gail Schwartz, the political committee’s chairwoman, wrote to Baker in a letter.
The economists, however, think the proposal’s economic impact could be far-reaching.
In addition to a hit to sales tax collections, the ban could have a broad effect on the state’s defense industry, Baker said. While the proposal allows military and law-enforcement agencies to import assault weapons, it is silent about the exportation of such devices, she noted.
The panel also wants to pinpoint state regulatory costs for the assault-weapons registry and for law enforcement agencies, such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“People they would be running into would probably be hunters. Is that hunter carrying an assault weapon or not? How would, logically, that play out in terms of the real world? Would they need new, instantaneous communications devices?” Baker asked other members of the panel during Tuesday morning’s discussion.
Economists will also consider possible “substitution effects” if the amendment were to pass. For example, would individuals who wanted to buy an assault weapon instead purchase a handgun, or would gun manufacturers produce more handguns if the ban became law?
But before those topics are addressed, the panel has to settle on what the proposal is trying to do.
Federal law defines a “semiautomatic rifle” as “any repeating rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”
But the ballot language is different. Under the proposal, a semiautomatic weapon is “any weapon which fires a single projectile or a number of ball shots through a rifled or smooth bore for each single function of the trigger without further manual action required.”
“At the end of the day, we have to determine a financial impact of what this language means. And the specifics of what it actually bans, I mean, we’ve got to figure that out before we can actually go further, right?” Katie Cunningham, an economist who represents Gov. Ron DeSantis on the panel, said.
“I think that is the pivotal issue,” Baker responded. “I don’t know that we’re going to be able to get to an answer today. But that is clearly a big piece. … If you think of all weapons, which part of that array are we really dealing with.”
The Financial Impact Estimating Conference will also try to take into account what people who own assault weapons might do with their guns, if the ban becomes law.
“What are people supposed to do with their now unlawful firearms, if they don’t want to keep it?” Cunningham asked her colleagues. “Maybe they don’t want to register it.”
“Yeah. What do you do with it? Because you can’t really sell it,” Don Langston, a House economist, replied.
“You can’t put it out on the curb,” Cunningham said.
–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida
Michael Cocchiola says
YES! Floridians, let’s get this done. This won’t take your guns away. It’ll inject some common sense into Florida’s gun laws and, hopefully, reduce the carnage.
Finally! We need to get this passed asap! The voices of the Florida people are finally being heard and we can do away with these pointless weapons and keep them out of our state! Thank you so much to everyone involved getting these dangerous devices off our streets and out of the hands of citizens.
What is ambiguous about “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.”? “shall not be infringed” is pretty straight forward.
Where is the “well REGULATED militia”????? I believe that is now called a local police force. Regulations mean just that. . . within limits!!! The second amendment does NOT say that just anyone can own an assault rifle, or bazooka for that matter!!
OIF Vet says
All guns are already outlawed to criminals… and yet here they are still murdering innocent folks daily with them.
3 words: Cold. Dead. Hands.
Trailer Bob says
Oh Great! So let me get this straight…the bad guys get to keep their rifles (they are already bad..right?) but us legal folks will need to turn them in? Still…many more people die each day from car accidents…so…do we limit who can get a car and what kind of car they are limited to? Of course not…it is the trade off for getting around.
OIF , it is not the criminals we are trying to keep the assualt rifles away from, it is the ordinary citizens that commit heinous mass killings. It’s not “criminals” like they would like us to believe. If anything making it harder to obtain an assualt rifle by a criminal will be a pleasant side effect of this law considering they would have to come from out of state.
This is what the gun freaks mean by well regulated:
Well regulated – nra and rump style
From drudge report regular, the Moonie owned tabloid the washington times:
NRA’s legal troubles, support for Trump in 2016 drain finances despite record membership growth
“…The NRA said it collected $366.9 million but spent $412.8 million in 2016 as it worked hard to elect Donald Trump, showing a year-end deficit of $45.8 million…”
How could this happen when trump is a self funded miracle?
“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.” Keep reading it until you understand!!
Randy Jones says
Hey Sherry. You might want to check yourself. Florida has a statutorily defined militia and its commanding officer is Florida’s Executive Officer. And, how ’bout this – the First Amendment does NOT say anything about computers or Twitter, or Facebook, or. . . . .
My loaded AK47 just sitting on the kitchen table still hasn’t gotten up and left the house to go kill someone. In fact it hasn’t moved one cm. Still watching it collect dust!
Funny how the people pushing for the laws to ban, these soo called assault weapons, still want to be protected by them. Murder is illegal, did that law stop the mass shootings? Common since is a rare commodity now days. People with a political agenda, will say whatever it takes, just to get another vote, well I got news for all the snowflakes out there, the constitution was written for a reason, and this will not fix anything, and will most likely get you voted out of office, as it should.
Every single Dictatorships in the world today have one main denominator. Their citizens have had their guns taken away.
That’s the fix!! Just ban them. We law abiding, tax payers will surely be safe then! How rich, LOL, LOL
@sherry… so you are going to re write the constitution? You believe?? You better do more than “believe”. Look up the definition of Militia.
a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army.
all able-bodied civilians eligible by law
Please someone please write a definitions of an “assault” weapon so you can show your ignorance even more. Just because you take a rifle, put a “scary” stock on it, make it all black, or God forbid a “scary” looking grip, does not make it anymore dangerous than a rifle that does not look “scary” to you. Start enforcing the laws already on the books before you start putting more in place that will do nothing to get the guns out of the hands of criminals.
Vietnam & Gulf War Vet says
I am troubled that the influx of residents from anti gun states, who bring their politics with them, and also many anti-gun factions who have funded the initiatives we now see proposed are moving this ban ahead. They all could care less about what history has taught us. Many who have been to war and have seen what defenseless souls look like, when a government, dictator or one party rule decides to control its population by force, call it whatever you like. It has been repeated many times with many lives lost because they have given up the tools to control the oppressive government when the government has imposed rules to take away their protection. Just ask those who gave up their guns in WW2, when they were told to do so. Pistols and shotguns will not protect against invaders to this country and will not hold off a government who wants to take away your freedoms, which were placed there to protect us. This I fear is just the first step with an end game to ban all or most firearms as has been done in Europe, U.K., Australia and Canada. It is just a matter of time.
Name (required) says
I remember when people treated each other with enough respect to where they didn’t feel like they needed guns to get by in daily life, there was no incessant need to be “right” on social media, their Tv’s didn’t feed them an unhealthy dose of crusade worthy BS. And even if, they had the ability to differentiate those differences…Seems nowadays, everyone is on a individual crusade backed by a “group” they can’t see, or verify as real, hell bent on being in the superior notion. This works both ways. With that said. I wish people could invest wayy less confidence in their propagandists, by logging off, turning off that TV and reflecting on their individual purposes. Hug a loved one, have a picnic. But for the love of god people, political and “gun” arguments aren’t America’s pastime, baseball is. Remember that. Take a walk, get some air. It’s not what you think it is. You’ve all been DUPED. Fact. Even better, there is no “us” or “them,” just “We.” Ya know. “The People.” Think a little more before you armchair crusade, it’s too easy for too many and it’s lost… meaning.
Why not just enforce the Patriot Act as it is written? A “terrorist” is any person or group of persons who threaten the safety and security of the United States of America and/or its people.
Are the gangs of our community not persons or groups of persons who on a daily basis threaten the safety and security of the people of this country? Are the drug dealers not a threat to our safety and security? Under our regular laws, they are allowed a lawyer and bail and get to appear before the LOCAL magistrates who love to send them back out on our streets! All we need is an order for law enforcement to enforce the Patriot Act, and then our local, state and federal law enforcement organizations could immediately arrest anyone and everyone associated with a group or gang known as a criminal organization or syndicate. Just being associated with a gang can result in these thugs being removed from our streets.
Under the Patriot Act, they DO NOT get a lawyer, they DO NOT get bail, amd they DO NOT have the right to remain silent. They can be detained indefinitely, under federal jurisdiction, appearing before federal judiciaries or military tribunals, and all of their assets are immediately seized by the government. To avoid life in a military prison or federal detention center, or even the federal death penalty, the lower level thugs will almost immediately testify against the bosses. Any deal would result in mandatory prison time of at least five or ten years or longer.
I am sick and tired of everyone complaining about how only criminals will have guns if we pass common sense gun regulations. It’s a really simple solution…if you commit a crime with a weapon, it can be upgraded to a federal charge under the Patriot Act. 100% of any and all assets in their name can be seized, which alone can cripple some of these gangs.
We don’t need NEW laws to remove criminals from our streets and communities. We simply need to use the laws we already have on the books to their fullest extent. That law is the Patriot Act. Why don’t we start using it to our advantage here at home rather than saving it for such terrorists that may never harm us in our lifetimes? The snowflakes on BOTH sides need to grow up and realize that we need to do something about our safety here at home before it is too late, and that the compromise to achieve that goal is not going to make EVERYONE happy.
So now we need an economic impact and assessment? So how does this math work, how many dead bodies equates to a single assault weapon?
If I assault someone with a pencil does that make all pencils assault weapons?
Gun control a joke. Take ours away & it will NOT! Keep them out of hands of criminals. Only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun
Alphonse Abonte says
Are the criminals going to register their assault weapons? Lets be realistic. Passing this amendment would be against t The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. It was ratified on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. … State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right. Start with this and we will end up going back to using black powder guns for defense.
So far every mass killer has used a registered, legal fire arm. So everyone saying, are the criminals going to register their gun, no. But mass killers aren’t criminals. They are just normal citizens like me and you who legally purchase firearms, then kill a bunch of people.
“from my cold dead hands”. . . Just another symptom of the FOX and Limbaugh “fear and hate” culture.
WOW! Sure hoping that gun is helping you to feel happy, and loved, and peaceful. . . can’t be comfortable cowering under that bed though.
Michael Cocchiola says
Mark… so is “a well-regulated militia”. Why is is that gun-defenders and 2nd Amendment conservatives single out one phrase to prove their case and conveniently bypass another phrase that complicates their case? Explain why? Anybody?
@ Michael Cocchiola. . . You are exactly correct. . . very well said! Pogo. . . right on, as usual!
For the uneducated. . . here is the definition of “regulate”:
Definition of regulate. transitive verb. 1a : to govern or direct according to rule. b(1) : to bring under the control of law or constituted authority. (2) : to make regulations for or concerning regulate the industries of a country.
Therefore a “well regulated militia” IS a police force that has rules set down by a governing body. It is NOT the anarchy of allowing ANYONE to possess a fire arm without rules and regulations!!!
Assault weapons are not used for anything but murdering human beings. FACTS and history tells us clearly that it is NOT those “criminals” that are using assault weapons for the mass murders we have in the USA. . . it is unhealthy people filled with fear and hate. The vast majority (62%) are white males!
But, then, again. . . many who comment here could care less about FACTS and honesty. . . just look at who they worship. . . the horrific demagogue and fascist now living in the White House.
OIF Vet says
Oh.. Ok Davey boy…
So you want to chip away at the 2A? Based on what? Some sort of predictive assumptions by who? Government officials? Maybe you should decide… maybe I should decide? Maybe Trump should? Or that old coot Bernie? Please inform us, with all you wisdom, who will make those decisions and based on what?
Do you even know what an “assault rifle” is? Please explain the difference between an assault rifle and a typical handgun? Which has the greater capacity to cause harm? Which has been used more often in “mass” shootings?
Pleasant side effect is they would have to take short trip? You do realize that if someone has determined to commit such an atrocity.. they will do it no matter what. They will either purchase legally or illegally. And a short road trip will not dissuade anyone… See El Paso.
Why don’t you be a man and say what you really mean? You want to chip away at 2A to make you feel like you are doing something… but you have nothing to say about Chicago or Detroit or Baltimore or LA or Miami or any of these other cities that see multiple folks gunned down every single week.
It is not the weapon… it is the individual.. Can we blame spoons for Rosie Odonnell being fat? Can we blame Obama for Fast and Furious? You have zero logic… other than taking away the rights of law abiding folks who would never harm even a house fly… but would like to have the option to defend themselves if necessary.
It is not difficult for any criminal to get their hands on an illegally purchased weapon. Stolen weapons, gangs, or some dude down the street have weapons… and almost exclusively illegally. They will always have theirs… and I will always have mine for self defense.
If you want to take away law abiding folks’ liberties… then maybe you should move to Chicago.. I hear they are doing a bang up job in their inner cities…
The United States Supreme Court has already ruled that the right to keep my arms as per the 2nd amendment is a personal right. As to what can be accomplished in banning popular firearms due to the misuse of similar weapons by criminals or crazies; After having just refreshed my memory, it is clear that If we could get every one, including the criminals, to hand over these weapons, and all other long guns we could reduce our homicide rate by as much as 3 or mane even 4%. To be sure, we could accomplish a lot more by banning knives, but we can go after them later. The percentage (3 or4%) is only that high if you include ALL long guns (according to 2016 numbers). And a KEY ingredient to this ‘whopping’ potential decrease is going to be that part wherein the criminals decide to follow the new law. Because, and this is should not be a spectacular revelation, most of those homicides are carried out by people who are in fact criminals. While you may not accomplish much in the way of homicide reduction, you WILL create a large, new criminal class made up of previously law abiding tax payers who refuse to disarm. Hint: We might accomplish more by focusing our efforts against our current violent criminals instead of turning law abiding citizens INTO criminals.