Tallahassee, Florida — Florida economists are currently reviewing the proposal of the assault weapons ban. Economists’ official estimation is another step needed in order to get the vote on the ban on the ballot. As expected, members of both sides of the argument are trying to persuade the economists to side with them rather than their opposition.
Namely, those who oppose the ban believe it would be terrible for business. During a meeting with state economists on Thursday, they focused on the negative financial impact on gun business owners. If Florida voters approve the ban, they believe many gun stores will have to close their doors. Additionally, they stated that over 150 gun makers would be forced to leave Florida and continue their production elsewhere. Hunters have also had their say in this, claiming that the ban would also have an impact on tourism.
Present at the meeting was Marion Hammer, who became famous for her support of weapon liberties. She was the first female president of the NRA and is very active in getting pro-gun legislation introduced to Florida state laws. After last year’s mass school shooting in Parkland, she participated in house and senate meetings and was a target of abuse from anti-gun lobbyists.
Concerning the financial aspect of the ban, Hammer claimed that the potential ban would be devastating to the state economy and would cost billions of dollars. She reiterated that, should the ban pass, many stores would close down, and it would affect how potential entrepreneurs perceived the state.
Store Owners Oppose the Ban
Economists’ say in the matter would be printed out on the ballot for voters to be able to factor it in when they make their decisions. This is why both gun advocates and anti-gun lobbyists are trying to persuade economists to agree with them. CEO of Talon Range in Tallahassee, Charlie Strickland, said that the fight against the ban was an emotional one. The majority of the guns Talon Range sells would become illegal if the proposal passed, so, naturally, Strickland worries about having to shut down his business. He said they were irritated and felt as if someone was trying to take what was theirs.
The supporters of the ban have tried to influence economists as well. They believe the ban would be important to bring safety to the state. Moreover, they think the state would save “hundreds of millions” in hospital costs which occur after a mass shooting. A member of the Moms Demand Action movement, Shannon Guse, said it was worrisome that children feared going to school due to mass shootings that had happened recently.
Economists themselves have had trouble coming up with a proper estimation. They find issue with the language the ban was written in as it’s too broad and uses vague terms. Critics of the proposal say that it would effectively ban all shotguns and semi-auto rifles due to the fact that they’re capable of holding more than ten rounds at once.
Chair of the group for Economic & Demographic Research, Amy Baker, said that the major issue was with the term “capable.” What defines “capable” is difficult to say in this context because, depending on the interpretation, it could cover a different range of weaponry. Baker added, however, that economists should come up with the final estimation in September. As of yet, it seems that they will have an on-the-fence definition, citing that the ban would affect 71% of rifle sales and about 50 percent of shotguns.
The estimation is just one step in what is still a long road ahead to getting the ban on the ballot. There are other issues they need to work out. Namely, they lack the needed number of signatures, and Florida’s Supreme Court has to give a positive legal review.
Ashley Moody, attorney general, is against the proposal. She thinks the language of the amendment is not specific enough and voters won’t have a clear idea what they’ll give support to.