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Florida could lose millions in tax dollars from proposed assault weapons ban, economists estimate

Brittany De Lea

As Florida considers a constiutional amendment to ban assault weapons, experts are weighing the impact such a measure could have on the state’s economy.

A panel of economists estimated it could cost the state budget as much as nearly $27 million in revenue, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel on Friday.

Other studies have projected an initial $8 million loss in tax revenue, followed by a $120 million decline in related economic activity.

Experts from the state Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, however, noted that losses could be smaller if the losses are balanced out by taxes on other purchases. The office did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment.

Proponents also argue that costs related to gun violence are much higher for the state.

The proposed amendment would prohibit the possession of assault weapons, which are defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine.

People who lawfully have an assault weapon prior to the enactment of the provision would be exempt — but these individuals would be required to register the weapons.

Failure to comply with the proposal would result in criminal penalties.

Discussions on the proposed measure were held on Thursday and Friday.

Proponents of the measure hope it will make its way onto the state’s 2020 ballot.

While the number of mass shootings in the U.S. continues to climb, the issue is particularly sensitive for Floridan after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016 during which 49 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured after a man with an assault-style rifle opened fire in the Orlando nightclub, and the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb 14, 2018, in which 17 people were kille by a gunman with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.

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A number of 2020 Democrats have advocated for a federal ban on assault weapons – including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.

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