Florida’s Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma told a crowd of local gun rights activists Monday night that he would not enforce the gun registration provision of a proposed state Constitutional amendment if it were to become law.
The event in Sanford was one of a series of townhall-style meetings being held across Florida by the Republican Liberty Caucus in conjunction with Florida Gun Rights, the goal being to bring awareness to current state-level issues surrounding the right to keep and bear arms.
Bob White, Chairman of the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus, asked Sheriff Lemma his opinion on the matter. During the sheriff’s speech, he had explained that sheriffs have prerogative in what they are willing to enforce. The sheriff cited the current rejection of new state gun control laws by sheriffs in Washington State as an example.
“It’s up to the sheriffs what they are willing to enforce,” explained Lemma, referring to legal doctrine set forth in the landmark Supreme Court case Printz vs United States.
White followed up with a question about the constitutional amendment currently being proposed in Florida called “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” which would ban possession of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns but require registration for those already owned by law-abiding gun owners to be grandfathered in.
“Would you enforce that provision of the state constitution on people that are refusing to register their weapons that they already own?” White asked.
Sheriff Lemma very quickly and decisively responded that: “Not only I wouldn’t, the majority of the Sheriffs across the state wouldn’t.”
The room erupted in applause.
Well on its way to gaining enough signatures to get onto the November 2020 general ballot statewide, the proposal would need a 60 percent majority of the popular vote to become state law. In recent elections, most proposed state constitutional amendments have passed the threshold needed.
The proposed constitutional amendment reads in part:
“…Prohibits possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device. …Requires registration of assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to this provision’s effective date…”
The Florida Ban Assault Weapons organization is backed, in part, by Michael Bloomberg, the Brady Campaign, League of Women Voters, and other radical left-wing extremists such as David Hogg.