The season has passed for gathering signatures for voter initiatives in the 24 states that allow them, so firearm-prohibition outfits with fuzzy names are finished trying to get gun bans—things that couldn’t make it through the state legislatures—on state ballots this November. A few very bad ideas did make this November’s election. Not that all voter initiatives are bad, but the process can clearly be abused with both bad and ugly ideas masquerading as good common-sense reforms.

The law requires that an initiative must have an accurate, honest title and summary, as the complete text of the proposed law is usually far too long to be placed on the ballot. A misleading title and summary is the Achilles’ heel of many of these attempts, because their proponents often choose wording that is sloppy, confusing or deceptive. Proponents often write in a propagandistic style, and may try to hide from the public the true, harmful impact of an initiative. Opponents often file lawsuits alleging that the wording is misleading, and thus the signatures on petitions with such wording are invalid.

Take the case of Florida’s Ban Assault Weapons NOW, whose proposal is to make it a felony to possess “any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition....” A person who possesses one by the effective date could register and keep it, but it could never be transferred to another person, not even an heir.