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Florida AG: Proposed Assault Weapons Ban Amendment Language 'Far Reaching And Misleading'

Ryan Dailey

Attorney General Ashley Moody last week asked the state Supreme Court to block a ballot initiative that would ban assault weapons. On Monday, the state’s top attorney fielded questions from reporters about the move.

Moody acknowledges the proposed amendment would ban weapons like the ones used in two deadly mass shootings over the weekend, in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. But, she says, the proposal’s language is too broad for her liking, calling it “far reaching and misleading.”

It would also include guns like the gun my grandfather gave my father and his brother when they were 9 and 10 (years old), 60 years ago – that held 10 or more rounds of ammunition because it has a self-feeding device, it’s automatically loading.”

Moody says that would put “virtually every self-loading long gun” under the umbrella of the proposed ban. She contends many of those, “in no shape of the imagination would one think would be described as an assault weapon.”

The ballot initiative was put forth by the group Ban Assault Weapons Now, which has committee members who survived Florida mass shootings in Parkland and Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

Monday’s press conference in Jacksonville was called to announce an initiative to fight automotive fraud, but reporters pressed Moody on the ballot initiative when she opened it up for questions. Though, Moody maintains her attempt to block the ballot initiative is a function of her job, not a personal stance.  

“I am obligated to pay attention to wording,” Moody said. “And make sure that, when we have a proposed amendment - Regardless of my own personal policy preferences, regardless of my own opinions – to make sure that the way that is going to be communicated on a ballot is clear.”

As to whether the proposed ballot initiative will be in front of voters in 2020, Moody says “ultimately, that will be the (state) Supreme Court’s decision.”

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.