Old Guard NRA in Florida Not Helping as Pro-Gun Groups Push for Expanded Gun Rights

NRA Elmer Fudd Disarmed

Florida – Florida’s former NRA lobbyist, Marion Hammer, used to be a powerful force for gun rights. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

Hammer, 83, was the first female NRA president and still serves on the Association’s board of directors. She created the Eddie Eagle gun safety program, which taught millions of children what to do if they encounter an unattended firearm. She nearly singlehandedly pushed shall-issue concealed carry through the Florida legislature, which became the model for many other states.

Unfortunately, while the battle to restore our gun rights never stopped, Hammer apparently did. Cracks began to appear, especially when constitutional carry or open carry were mentioned.

After 25 other states passed constitutional carry, Florida gun owners began to wonder why we hadn’t – why we were falling so far behind.

In June, the NRA replaced Hammer with another lobbyist, Art Thomm, an experienced go-getter who had already helped pass constitutional carry in six other states. In just months, Thomm got an unlicensed concealed-carry bill on track and headed toward Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

On Thursday, Hammer sent an article to AmmoLand News and thousands of Florida’s NRA members, citing a 2011 bill, SB-234, which would have allowed licensed open carry.

From the article:

“Unfortunately, members of a group called Florida Carry, Inc. opposed the bill because they wanted full open carry without a license. Some motorcycle gang members of the organization even stormed the Capitol wearing black leather with silver chains and started threatening legislators,” Hammer wrote. “Florida Carry, Inc. officials refused to agree to incremental restoration and demanded full open carry – anytime and anywhere or nothing. They got nothing. Clearly, the ‘all or nothing’ folks today either don’t know or didn’t learn from history. Opposing HB-543 and SB-150 is ill advised.  Incremental restoration is much better than no restoration. In other words, something is always better than nothing and you can always continue to work for more. That’s the nature of the legislative process.”

Now, while the Florida Carry board of directors has nothing but respect for Hammer’s decades of work and accomplishments, we must point out that what she alleged in her email is simply not true – especially the part about black-leather-clad, chain-wielding motorcycle gang members pillaging legislative hall – but not everyone remembers history the same way.

In 2011, Florida Carry, Inc. supported SB-234 until its open-carry provision was removed in a floor amendment, whereupon it was no longer an open-carry bill. Today, we strongly support the current legislation, HB-543, and SB-150, and we have always supported any advancement in the right to bear arms, as long as it does not result in further restrictions on gun owners.

As we have repeatedly said in interviews, public testimony, and news stories, we would prefer that the current bills would allow for the open carry of arms. However, even without open carry, the legislation is still a major restoration of our gun rights and deserving of support.

Your Florida Carry board of directors – to a man – wishes that Hammer had checked her facts or talked with us before she sent out her email. Florida Carry and all the state’s pro-gun groups have worked incredibly hard to get the legislation this far, and we are not stopping, regardless of friendly fire.


Your Florida Carry board of directors


About Florida Carry, Inc.

Florida Carry, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental rights of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self-defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Sections 2 and 8 of the Florida Constitution. Florida Carry stands to represent our supporters, members, and millions of defensive arms owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization’s agenda that may compromise that mission.

Florida Carry works tirelessly toward striking down the ill-conceived gun and weapons control laws that have been proven to provide safe havens to criminals and be deadly to law-abiding citizens.

Florida Carry, Inc.