ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Three years after the Pulse nightclub shooting, a group is looking to take the issue of banning assault weapons to Florida voters.
Gail Schwartz is the aunt of a Parkland victim and the chair of 'Ban Assault Weapons Now,' or BAWN, an organization looking to do just that in the Sunshine State.
The group, Monday, surrounded by state and national leaders announced that it wishes to get a ban on the sale of military-grade weapons on the 2020 ballot.
“No one should have to go through life, hoping and praying it’s not going to happen to them or someone that they love,” Schwartz said.
“It’s time to give the people the decision, where so many legislators who are gripped by the gun lobby remain paralyzed to do what needs to be done,” said Representative Darren Soto, District 9.
State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, District 49, has proposed a state ban, but has been unsuccessful.
He says it’s time to take the issue to the voters.
“People are frustrated. They realize that the only way they can bring change and take action like banning assault weapons in Florida is not to work with the Florida legislature, it’s to work around it,” Smith said.
“If our politicians will not work for us, let’s let the voters decide,” said Christine Leinonen, a mother of one of the Pulse victims.
But not everyone is happy about the initiative, including Orange County GOP Chair Charles Hart.
“I’m not OK with this, because look, just because this is a fundamental right all Americans have because of political discourse and the changing politics of our nation, doesn’t mean that someone should no longer have fundamental rights that we’ve decided to share with the federal government and state government,” Hart said.
Schwartz says the ban will rescue others from the pain she’s endured.
“This is our chance do something so that not one more family will suffer,” Schwartz said.
BAWN has 103,000 signatures on a petition to get the issue on the ballot. It needs 760,000 signatures.
The group believes it has enough signatures needed for a judicial review of the proposed ban.