Things are heating up in Florida and I’m not talking about the temperature which today hit 94 degrees in Palm Beach. I’m talking about the attempt by Florida’s Attorney General to behave as if she’s on the payroll of the NRA. And since Granny Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, is right now laying low until the sh*tstorm about Wayne-o’s profligate spending goes away, at least Gun-nut Nation has AG Ashley Moody to carry on the good fight.
And the good fight involves an attempt by the relatives of several Parkland victims to put a citizen’s initiative on the 2020 ballot that would amend the State Constitution and ban assault rifles in the Gunshine State. The backers of this initiative have collected enough signatures to get their petition approved by the Florida Supreme Court, which would then allow them to collect another pile of signatures required to put the amendment up for a statewide vote.
You can read the Constitutional amendment right here, and then take a look at Moody’s attempt to block the amendment right here. Her statement that any semi-automatic rifle with more than a ten-round capacity is just another standard sporting gun, is right out of the playbook that the gun industry has been using for years.
I have owned and hunted with semi-automatic rifles and shotguns made by Remington, Browning, Winchester, Benelli and a few more, and none of them took a magazine which held more than ten rounds. You don’t go out into the woods to shoot Bambi by spraying ammo all over the place. When the hi-flyers come over on their way to Florida, you’re lucky if you get off two shots before the birds disappear out of sight.
What makes an assault rifle so dangerous and lethal is the fact that the magazine attaches from beneath the gun, which means that no matter how large it is or how many rounds it holds, it can’t prevent a shooter from aiming the gun. The venerable M-1 Garand rifle, which George Patton called “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” was a top-loading semi-auto that only held 8 rounds. When the military decided to go to a full-auto gun, Gene Stoner designed the first M-16 to take a bottom-loading magazine thus increasing the firepower of the gun. And before you start screaming at me about how the gun-grabbers don’t know the difference between a full-auto military gun and a semi-auto sporting gun, the current battle gun known as the M-4 shoots in semi-automatic mode.
Believe it or not, I happen to find shooting an assault rifle to be a lot of fun. You set up a bunch of bottles down range, you bang away 30 rounds without stopping to reload. It reminds me of the old-time shooting gallery at the circus or the county fair. So I understand that gun nuts will be plenty pissed off if they have to give up this beloved toy. But no matter how you slice it or dice it, a bottom-loading rifle that can take a magazine which holds thirty, forty or even fifty rounds is a killing machine.
Yesterday a young man cut a hole in a fence, walked into a garlic festival in Gilroy, CA, and used an AK-47 to shoot 15 people, of whom ‘only’ 3 died. He was nineteen, he bought the gun legally a few weeks previously, and other than some suggestive internet rants the day of the shooting, nobody has yet come forward who claims prior knowledge of the event.
So the battle is now joined between the gun industry and their self-appointed public relations director Ashley Moody on the one hand, and the gun-control ‘nuts’ in Florida on the other. The truth is that Gun-nut Nation is terrified that a state like Florida might actually decide that certain guns are simply too lethal to be sold. After all, we’re not talking about a Communist state like Massachusetts or New York. We’re talking about a state which understands that the most sacred duty of every citizen is to protect hearth and home with a gun.