Crist: I'll ban "assault weapons" by executive order on my first day as Florida governor

Crist: I'll ban "assault weapons" by executive order on my first day as Florida governor
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Sounds like someone needs a civics lesson, which seems strange for a man who occupied the office in question once already. Former governor Charlie Crist, hoping to get some momentum in a moribund campaign for another term, told reporter Glenna Milberg that he would ban “assault weapons” by executive fiat on his first day in office.

Crist later followed up by reconfirming his pledge, via Twitchy:

Crist already endorsed an AWB in his campaign website, so his position on that hasn’t changed. It doesn’t mention the use of an EO to affect an AWB, however, and for good reason. Governors can’t ban sales of entire classes of weapons by executive order. That requires a statute, and a carefully designed statute at that to ensure that it doesn’t infringe on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. (A handful of states do have AWBs, in statutes passed by legislatures and signed by governors.)

Executive orders, properly used, can direct executive policy decisions. In other words, a proper EO takes authority granted to the executive branch — usually by statute or constitutional prerogative — and directs it for a particular use within the jurisdiction and authority of the executive. Those boundaries are set by the Florida state constitution, Article 4, which does not grant any legislative authority to the governor. An EO to stop sales of firearms that are otherwise legal under Florida and federal statutes would be meaningless and unenforceable. And Crist knows it.

If Crist wants to impose an AWB, he’ll have to convince the legislature to pass one. First, though, he’ll have to convince Floridians to elect him as governor while posturing as a dictator, in a state where firearms and self-defense tend to be pretty popular in the first place. Crist’s pandering to the Left with this pledge isn’t going to move the needle in the direction Crist thinks it will, and even his target audience is likely to scratch their heads over this promise.

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Ben Shapiro 12:01 AM on June 01, 2023