Attorney General Ashley Moody is doing the bidding of the NRA, Democratic lawmaker says

Florida Attorney Ashley Moody (from the Florida Channel)

Already under fierce criticism for her opposition to a proposed ban on assault-style weapons following the El Paso and Dayton shooting deaths, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is now being accused of caring more about what the National Rifle Association believes than what Floridians believe.

“The people of Florida want common sense gun reform,” said State Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Miami-Dade Democrat who is outraged that Moody opposes a proposed assault-weapons ban that could land on the November 2020 ballot.

“Unfortunately, instead of letting the people of Florida decide through the democratic process at the ballot box, Ashley Moody is unilaterally trying to take this critically important decision away from the voters. She is doing the bidding of the NRA and purposely ignoring the people of Florida. Shame on her,” Taddeo said in a statement.

Moody, a Republican, recently sent a letter to the Florida Supreme Court contending that the ballot language for a proposed constitutional amendment on banning assault weapons is misleading. That’s because it doesn’t represent the broad sweep of the ban that could impact virtually “every semiautomatic long gun” in Florida, according to Moody’s view.

She also said the proposed amendment would impact weapons such as a long gun that has been handed down in her family for generations because it can hold 10 or more rounds that can be automatically loaded.

Those comments have been criticized by Democrats and supporters of the proposed amendment on assault weapons in the wake of the horrific shooting attacks in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

When asked for a response from Moody today, a spokesperson referenced Moody’s remarks at a press conference in Jacksonville earlier this week. At that time, Moody said it was her constitutional duty as Florida Attorney General to provide an advisory opinion on the proposed constitutional amendment and make sure the ballot language is clear and unambiguous.

“At this stage, my office is involved at the proposed language in determining whether the title and the summary are clear and unambiguous,” Moody said on Monday. “And my office, specifically has the responsibility to the citizens of this state to tell you whether or not it we believe it meets that statutory definition of clarity. And if it’s going to mislead the voters, we have to communicate that to the court.”

Moody also has been criticized by Democrats and gun-safety advocates for filing a notice of appeal of a Leon County judge’s 2011 ruling related to laws that can block local elected officials from passing gun laws.

“This is another example of our Attorney General using our tax dollars to file a frivolous appeal,” Taddeo said. “She is attempting to use the court system to circumvent the will of the people to have their local elected officials pass common sense gun laws in their communities.”

Moody was endorsed by the NRA in her campaign for attorney general last year, where she easily defeated Democrat Sean Shaw. Taddeo noted in her news release that Moody has an “A rating” from the NRA.

The Florida Democratic Party also sent a press release to reporters on Wednesday highlighting a Tampa Bay Times columnist’s critical take on Moody’s stance on guns.

Moody, the daughter of a federal judge, became the youngest judge elected in Florida when she was elected to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County in 2006. She resigned in 2017 to run full-time for the AG position.

Bill Bunting, the Second Amendment chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a longtime NRA member, says that while the pressure is on Moody right now, she’ll be just fine in the long run.

“Both sides are going to dig in on this. We know that. And they know that,” said Bunting. “But we’re going to dig in harder, because there’s a passion for supporting the Constitution (in Florida).”

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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