Access-based lobbyists fail to deliver results as politicians’ fear of grassroots gun rights organizations rises
Marion Hammer, former NRA president and Executive Director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida, has long been a fixture in the gun rights community, but her influence in Tallahassee is waning, leaving a power vacuum that spelled disaster for gun rights last year and could only get worse as her behavior becomes more erratic.
Setting the Stage for a Gun Control Disaster
Over the last couple decades, Hammer has casually handed out bloated ratings to any politician with an “R” next to his name, which created a culture in Tallahassee that, as reported by The Hill, led to 67 NRA A-rated Republicans voting for the largest gun control expansion in recent Florida history just last year.
Politicians do not fear her, and the results of the 2018 battle proves Hammer’s tactics are ineffective when it comes to defending and advancing the Second Amendment in Florida.
And while Florida Gun Rights led the fight against SB 7026 by mobilizing tens of thousands of gun owners through social media, phone calls and emails, Hammer appeared to phone it in for this fight while collecting a six-figure salary.
According to the Florida Bulldog, the NRA paid Hammer $270,000 last year while seemingly doing the bare minimum to block Governor Rick Scott’s gun control proposal, whom she had previously given an A+ rating.
Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights, remarked soon after the gun control measure was signed into law that “Marion Hammer’s spineless response to Florida Republicans calling for gun control led to the largest gun control expansion in the state’s history. If anything is to blame for this catastrophe, it is Hammer’s cozy relationship with the political class.”
And this relationship led her to not be taken seriously during the 2018 gun control battle and, in turn, Florida gun owners ultimately paid the price.
Hammer Attacks the Grassroots
In what appears to have been a response to mounting pressure to take action, Hammer lashed out at Florida Gun Rights via email in March, claiming FLGR is a “scam” and its members have “no actual presence in Florida.”
That’s a pretty bold statement to make since FLGR has a registered lobbyist that lives in Tallahassee, which is publicly attainable information.
Also, is she saying the nearly 100,000 followers on Florida Gun Rights’ Facebook page are not real Floridians?
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Hammer attacked FLGR, and likely won’t be the last as her influence in Tallahassee continues to deteriorate.
Florida Gun Rights Leads Repeal Fight, Hammer Missing in Action
Immediately after SB 7026 was signed into law by Governor Scott, FLGR started working with lawmakers to introduce a complete repeal of the new law.
In January before the beginning of session, Hammer publicly denied any involvement in FLGR’s effort to get a repeal bill filed in a post on the NRA-ILA website saying she “had nothing to do with that bill or any other bill that has been filed so far this session.”
And when it came time to lobby Florida lawmakers into advancing the repeal bill, it appears Hammer may have been working against gun owners — with multiple lawmakers reporting Hammer urged them not to introduce any pro-gun legislation.
Florida Gun Rights Filling the Void Left by Hammer
Despite her attacks, FLGR has emerged as the most effective pro-gun organization in Florida and is working to fill the void left behind by Hammer, which is only made possible by its tens of thousands of members and supporters across the state.
So while Hammer spends her members’ donations attacking pro-gun patriots frustrated with her failed approach to defending gun rights in Florida, Florida Gun Rights will continue to advance and defend the Second Amendment in the Sunshine State.