Single word complicates proposed assault weapons ban

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - The state’s chief economists are required by law to determine how much state and local governments, as well as private businesses, would gain or lose from a proposed assault weapons ban.

How big or little the impact it may have seems to have come down to a single word. (Capitol News Service)

How big or little the impact it may have seems to have come down to a single word.

The AR-15 is what comes to mind when an assault weapons ban is discussed, but gun dealer Alex Folmar believes the proposed constitutional ban working on getting on the 2020 ballot would go much further.

“This proposed legislation would include most of the guns you see up on the wall up here,” said Folmar. "Anything that is semiautomatic and accepts a magazine or has a tube feed capacity.”

The amendment does not ban high capacity pistols. However, some shotguns, while designed to hold five rounds, can carry many more by extending their tube feeder. That would make them banned under the proposal.

Because the ban is so encompassing, state economists charged with putting a dollar figure on the ban said it all comes down to the amendment's use of the word capable at a meeting Thursday.

“That hinges on what sales you are prohibiting, what sales will no longer be allowed in Florida,” said Amy Baker with the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

Supporters of the ban from Moms Demand Action sat on one side of the room. Opponents like NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer on the other.

“If your professions can’t agree on what capable means in this context, how on earth do you expect average citizens to understand it?” Hammer asked the panel of economists.

Only one proponent of the amendment, retired Dr. Tom Enoch, spoke briefly.

“We can regulate guns for hunting but we can’t regulate guns for saving people’s lives? That’s all I have to say,” said Enoch.

Economists expect to put a dollar figure on the ban right after Labor Day. Then it will be up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide if the amendment misleads voters.