Group pushes for 'assault weapon' ban in Florida

Florida's newest gun control group is backing an old idea for the Sunshine State-- a ban on "all semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity feeding devices". (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Florida’s newest gun control group is backing an old idea for the Sunshine State– a ban on “all semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity feeding devices” (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

A small gun control organization, using the Pulse nightclub mass killing as a call to action, is making the long-shot attempt at bringing a ban on some semi-automatic firearms and their magazines to Florida.

Terming themselves the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, they emerged from the state’s League of Women Voters Gun Safety Committee. They have two stated legislative goals: bring universal background checks and a statewide ban on “all semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity feeding devices” to Florida.

“We’re horrified by the type of weapon that was used at Pulse,” says Patricia Brigham, head of the group, in an interview with public radio.

In the past, Brigham has been all over the state, pushing expanded background checks, campaigning against open carry and campus carry and even visiting firearms dealers in the Sunshine State to make sure that the businesses have signage that is required by law.

Her group likely has a smattering of support among Democrats in Tallahassee with a few lawmakers in recent months pushing for a special session to take up gun control legislation which Republican leaders have shown little inclination to entertain.

Some of Florida’s Congressional delegation to Washington, including U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson — all Democrats — have made open calls since the Orlando attack to restart the expired 1994 federal assault weapon ban and restrict magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges. Currently eight Florida Dems are co-sponsoring a new ban in the House, though it will not likely come up for a vote.

Further, a recent University of South Florida-Nielsen survey found that 49 percent of respondents view a ban of the sale of “semi-automatic assault weapons” to be a move in the “right direction.”

Brigham’s group, however, will have a very steep uphill struggle in a state that has pioneered gun rights legislation through Stand Your Ground and liberal concealed carry laws — Florida enjoys more concealed carry permit holders than any other state — and a long history of Republican-heavy state legislatures speeding pro-gun bills to the governor.

The state’s powerful gun rights champion, Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former National Rifle Association president, told Guns.com the newfound drive to bring a California solution to the state is deflection from the real issues at hand.

“Planting a political podium in the aftermath of a tragedy that has taken innocent lives will never solve the problem of gun violence by terrorists or people with mental illness. Yet that seems to be the trademark of gun control proponents who hijack the mission of their organizations in exchange for exposure,” Hammer said in an email Tuesday.

“Gun control is not a solution, it’s political eyewash and a diversion to keep from dealing with real problems,” said Hammer.

Latest Reviews

  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More

Loading