Marion P. Hammer

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

Marion Hammer - Former President of the NRA - NRA Board Member
Former president of—and current lobbyist for—the National Rifle Association

Marion Hammer began handling firearms as a toddler. As she recalls it: “I grew up with guns … I went to live on a farm. I was five years old. My granddaddy would go off rabbit hunting and squirrel hunting couple or three times a week. It’s just what we did. And we ate rabbits and squirrels. And I wanted to go. And I begged him to let me go … And before I was six years old, I was shooting rabbits and squirrels. It’s a way of life." She won dozens of shooting tournaments before becoming a gun rights activist after the passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act. Hammer founded Unified Sportsmen of Florida (USF)—a state affiliate of the National Rifle Association—in 1975 and became the full-time lobbyist for USF and the NRA in Florida in 1978. She explains that she founded USF "because Florida was seeing what I would call a burst of gun control measures being filed by northerners who had moved to South Florida and had brought the stuff that they had moved away from with them." Hammer was elected to the NRA Board in 1982. From 1995 to 1998, she served as the organization’s first female president. In 2005, Hammer was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame after being selected by Republican Governor Jeb Bush. During more than 35 years working for the NRA in the Florida state legislature, she has lobbied for bills to: a) Create a "Shall Issue" concealed carry permitting system; b) Liberalize the law concerning the use of lethal force in public by gun carriers; c) Force colleges and universities to allow guns on their campuses; d) Prevent local governments from regulating firearms on their own, and; e) Prohibit doctors, including pediatricians, from asking patients questions about firearms. Hammer has acknowledged that she carried a loaded handgun in her purse prior to the enactment of Florida's concealed carry law in 1987, and has stated, "I’m 4-foot-11. I’m 67 years old. If you came at me, and I felt that my life was in danger or that I was going to be injured, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you.” In 2010, Hammer received $190,000 in compensation from the NRA for consulting work, in addition to the $110,000 per year salary she receives from Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

Controversial Actions and Statements

Controversial Actions and Statements:


Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In June 2012, Hammer sent a survey on behalf of the NRA and the United Sportsmen of Florida to sheriffs candidates around the state of Florida. One question about Florida’s first-in-the-nation “Stand Your Ground” law asked, “Do you agree that no victim of crime should be required to surrender his life, health, safety, personal dignity, autonomy, or property to a criminal, nor should a victim be required to retreat in the face of attack from any place he or she has a right to be?” There were two possible answers: “Yes, I believe the ‘Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground’ is appropriate and victims have a right to fight back without a duty to retreat,” or “No, I oppose the ‘Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground’ and believe victims should surrender to criminals or retreat to avoid fighting back.” Another question asked whether candidates support a law that would allow someone with a concealed weapons permit to openly display a gun. Those in favor could answer, “Yes, I support open carry…as a means to stop harassment by those anti-gun law enforcement officers [who question or arrest individuals who openly carry guns in public].”

Several other survey questions addressed the NRA’s goal of prohibiting sheriffs from lobbying for gun safety legislation. One question asked, “Do you believe it is appropriate for a sheriff to lobby or use deputies and/or their deputies to lobby against the Second Amendment rights of the law-abiding citizens they are sworn to serve?” Another question asked, “Do you believe it is appropriate for a sheriff or any of his deputies or employees to lobby on issues against the constitutional rights of law-abiding firearms owners , in the name of the Sheriff, Sheriffs department or any Organization or Association in any official law enforcement capacity?” The two possible answers were: “No, I would not allow it. Our duty is to respect and serve our community and uphold the law and the Constitution,” or “Yes, I would allow it if it makes things more convenient for law enforcement.” Commenting on the issue, Hammer stated, “We don’t believe it’s appropriate for any law enforcement agency to be lobbying against the Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the constitution of the citizens they were elected to protect and represent.”

The cover sheet attached to the four-page survey warned in bold letters, “No endorsement or support will be provided to a candidate who fails to return the questionnaire.” Hammer said about the survey, “Voters have a right and a responsibility to know who they are voting for. I’m not apologetic if that offends the Florida Sheriffs Association and anti-gun sheriffs.” Florida Sheriffs Association Executive Director Steve Casey responded that sheriffs are neither “pro-gun” nor “anti-gun.” “They’re pro public safety,” he said. Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson stated that the NRA “doesn't want the sheriffs to be in Tallahassee to work on any kind of legislation, which we have taken for try and work for good laws for the state of Florida such as narcotics laws, pill laws, traffic safety.” Johnson, a longtime NRA member, added that it is “sad to see [the NRA] take such a hard line on it.”

Lobbying Activity |

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

A Bloomberg News article from May 11, 2012 provided several interesting anecdotes about Hammer, including:

Lobbying Activity | Political Corruption | The Environment | Poverty

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

On March 20, 2012, Hammer responded to the controversial shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by concealed handgun permit holder George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. The shooter, who was not arrested, claimed that he acted in self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Hammer, the NRA lobbyist who championed the law in the Florida state legislature, stated, “So for law enforcement to rush to judgment just because they are being stampeded by emotionalism would be a violation of law. This law is not about one incident. It's about protecting the right of law-abiding people to protect themselves when they are attacked. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the law. And if the [Republican] governor [Rick Scott] wants to waste time looking at it he can knock himself out.” Since its enactment in 2005, the “Stand Your Ground Law” has been tied to a number of shootings that involved the questionable use of deadly force.

Lobbying Activity | Vigilantism

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In January 2012, Hammer renewed her opposition to an effort by the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association to ban the carrying of firearms in hospitals and nursing homes, claiming that it "panders to the anti-gun political agenda of South Florida organizations." According to Hammer, doctors, nurses and other medical staff have a "constitutional right" to carry loaded guns in these places.

Property Rights

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

During the 2011 legislative session, Hammer lobbied for a bill to force Florida’s cities and counties to repeal local rules regulating firearms that are stricter than state law. The legislation instituted fines for local officials who fail to comply, and gave gun owners a right to sue for damages if they believe their rights have been violated.

Municipal leaders stood in strong opposition to the bill. “This probably passed because of someone from the NRA, someone who doesn’t care about urban conditions,” said Aaron Campbell, vice mayor of Miami Gardens. “It’s sad that a piece of legislation can pass like this.” Elaine H. Black of the Liberty City Trust stated, “I’m concerned about some deranged person who doesn’t like what our government is doing coming in and shooting someone. If I can go now into the Miami Riverside Center, the main operating office of Miami, or any municipal building—and there’s always someone who’s walking into that door who’s not happy with government. Maybe you put a lien on my property, and I think that’s not right—I can walk in with a gun and shoot you.” The Florida League of Cities was concerned that the bill changed a longstanding common law practice of shielding elected and appointed officials from civil lawsuits relating to their job function.

Hammer dismissed these concerns, saying, “You’re not going to have every Tom, Dick and Harry carrying a firearm on their person up and down the streets and into buildings because it’s a felony [unless the person has a license to carry a concealed weapon].” When asked why it why it was OK for municipal leaders to beef up local laws on a host of other issues, such as where sex offenders can live, Hammer replied, “Sex offenders are not protected by the Constitution.” She added, “The right to keep and bear arms has Constitutional protection and ocal governments have been violating the Constitutional rights with no punishment.”

Hammer described elected officials who wish to regulate guns on the local level as “gun hating-Liberals.” “The legislature...made it clear in [1987] legislation that no future ordinances regulating firearms and ammunition could be adopted," she said. "And through that 24 years, there have been a number of counties that have arrogantly done it anyhow because there were no penalties in that bill.”

The legislation was signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott and went into effect on October 1, 2011.

Lobbying Activity |

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

During the 2011 legislative session in Florida, Hammer lobbied for a bill to prevent Florida doctors from asking their patients if they own a gun and counseling them about firearms safety. Hammer claimed that such questions violate the privacy of gun owners and “offend common decency.” "They are entering that information into medical records on laptop computers which greatly concerns parents because anything you put in a medical record they fear can be accessed by insurance companies or the government and used against ‘em," she explained. "Doctors should not ask you how much money you have in your checking account, whether or not you own diamond cufflinks or your wife owns a diamond necklace. They should not be asking whether or not you own guns."

Hammer said that gun-owning parents in Florida had complained to her for many years about pediatricians’ inquiries about firearms; but could only produce one specific example of this occurring.

She also drew broader theories about doctors' motives: “This is a campaign that started eight to ten years ago by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics and they decided to join the gun ban crowd," Hammer said. "They give pediatricians advice to give to parents and that’s not to buy a gun and if they own guns to get rid of ‘em. So when they start giving that advice to pediatricians and your very Liberal, anti-gun pediatricians start taking that advice, then we have problems ... We don’t want to pay to sit there and be lectured by a pediatrician or a GP telling us that guns are bad and giving erroneous statistics like they have on their website that if you have a gun in the home it’s 43 times more likely to be used on you than not. I mean, this is nonsense ... It’s about carrying out a gun ban campaign and it has to stop.” Hammer decried: "It's about politics. Pure, raw, anti-gun politics being imposed on patients when they are most vulnerable, when they are sick or hurt and need help."

The Florida Medical Association strongly opposed the bill, telling their members: “This legislation criminalizes doctors who ask their patients about gun ownership to ascertain accurate and complete patient history as well as advise patients on gun safety ... This is an inappropriate intrusion of government into the bond that exists between doctors and their patients ... Legal measures are already in place to ensure that the information patients share with physicians will be kept confidential.”

The bill, which originally fined doctors $5 million for asking patients about gun ownership, was amended to create a tiered fine system for violators. An offending doctor would be charged $10,000 for the first offense, at least $25,000 for the second offense, and a minimum of $100,000 for the third offense.

After the legislation was passed by the Florida state legislature, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups sent Republican Governor Rick Scott a letter asking him to veto it. Hammer accused them of an intimidation campaign, saying, “They sent a letter that was a blatant threat. They attempted to intimidate and coerce the governor by telling him that they would sue him and other state officials if the bill became law. Now, that tells you the type of people you’re dealing with. To threaten a governor in that manner is just uncalled for.” In June 2011, Governor Scott signed the legislation into law.

On September 14, 2011, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction on the law. U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke reasoned that the law "chilled" free speech and wrote in her decision: "The law curtails practitioners' ability to inquire about whether patients own firearms and burdens their ability to deliver a firearm safety message to patients ... Information regarding firearm ownership is not sacrosanct. Federal and state statues heavily regulate firearm ownership, possession and sale and require firearm owners to provide personal information in certain circumstances."

Lobbying Activity | Freedom of Information | Freedom of Speech | Health Care

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

During the 2011 legislative session in Florida, the Florida Sheriff’s Association opposed a bill that sought to allow people to openly carry firearms in public without storing them in safety holsters. Seminole Sheriff Don Eslinger, speaking on behalf of the association, testified that the legislation was a bad idea in a tourist state, and pointed out that visible weapons are ripe targets for thieves—especially if a gun isn't properly secured. "Many officers are killed with their own guns," Eslinger noted. "And keep in mind, these are skilled practitioners."

Hammer, who was the primary lobbyist for the bill, explained that an Open Carry law was needed because, “Silly as it may sound, if a license holder is carrying a concealed firearm and the wind blows open a jacket or a shirt exposing the firearm, the person can be charged with a crime for violating the Open Carry law ... This is Florida. It gets really hot here in the summer. A lot of times folks might go into a restaurant or into, you know, a meeting and they have on a suit with a coat and it’s hot and they want to take off their jacket, if they’re carrying in a shoulder holster or in a pants holster they can’t take a jacket off and expose the firearm because then they would be violating the Open Carry law." She was unable to provide any specific examples of permit holders being arrested for such violations.

Speaking about opponents of the bill, Hammer said, "Open Carry was one of those things that we lost here in Florida when we passed concealed carry because the gun haters said that carrying openly would scare people so we ended up with Open Carry being banned in Florida 24 years ago ... claim that everybody’s going to strap a holster on and a gun on their hip and walk up and down Main Street. Well, that’s nonsense, that’s nothing more than emotional hysterics designed to try to kill a bill.”

When she was asked about the Florida sheriffs who lobbied against Open Carry, Hammer accused them of "bullying" legislators and said, "a lot of 'em are [anti-gun radicals]." "In my 34 years, I’ve not seen anything this egregious," Hammer added.

Republican Governor Rick Scott eventually signed a watered-down version of the bill into law on June 17, 2011.

Lobbying Activity |

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel on April 24, 2011, Hammer discussed the 1968 Gun Control Act, a federal law which (for the first time) established a class of prohibited gun purchasers (i.e., convicted felons, substance abusers, those under restraining orders, those adjudicated mentally ill, etc.), a licensing system for gun dealers, and safeguards intended to reduce interstate gun trafficking. "In 1968 my way of life changed because the 68 Gun Control Act imposed restrictions on law-abiding people who had done absolutely nothing," Hammer said. "The Congress stampeded into taking that action because of the heinous acts of criminals, assassinations. And so for the acts of a handful of people an entire nation has suffered ever since. I got angry that I was being punished and I hadn’t done anything wrong."


Marion Hammer (Board Member)

Hammer was the primary lobbyist for a bill introduced in the Florida state legislature in January 2011 that sought to force the state’s colleges and universities to allow guns on campus. Under SB 234, anyone with a concealed handgun permit recognized by Florida would have been able to carry a loaded gun onto a college campus—including into classrooms and dormitories.

The bill was introduced just days after Florida State University sophomore Ashley Cowie, 20, was accidentally shot and killed at a fraternity party by fellow student Ryan Wilhelm, who discharged his semiautomatic AK-74 assault rifle while showing it off. Wilhelm had a blood alcohol level of approximately .10 at the time of the shooting and had also been smoking marijuana.

Commenting about the shooting, Hammer emphasized it happened off-campus in a fraternity house where guns are banned. “With shootings on campus, they are essentially a gun-free zone and in a gun-free zone the good guys don’t have a chance,” she said.

When asked why SB 234 was necessary, Hammer replied, “There’s a lot of safety by allowing guns on campus. That’s how a lot of us protect ourselves because law enforcement can’t be there when we need them. Law enforcement is not stopping rapes on campus, and not stopping a lot of crimes ... "Nothing about a university or college campus should take away an individual's right of self-defense."”

In response to those who questioned the wisdom of arming young people in an academic environment often characterized by stress and heated debate, Hammer made the following argument: “In order to qualify for a license, a person has to be 21 years of age or older. We’re not talking about teenage freshmen or underclassmen, so folks shouldn’t let anybody put that false image in your head However, we need to remember that this country asks 18 year olds to go to war and die for this country but we don’t let ‘em carry firearms until they’re 21 years of age or older and the reality is when we do let ‘em carry, we currently are denying that right if they decide to go to college and get a better education and make a better life for themselves.”

The police chiefs of Florida’s states universities came out in unanimous opposition to SB 234. The Florida Police Chiefs Association also opposed SB 234.

SB 234 was amended to remove the guns on campus provision on March 9, 2011 after Dr. Robert Cowie—the father of slain student Ashley Cowie and a registered Republican—testified against the bill in front of the Senate Florida Criminal Justice Committee. “Allowing guns in an atmosphere of college parties puts everyone involved at increased and undue risk,” he told committee members. "I challenge anyone present today in this room who is a parent—or for that matter any voter in this state that is a parent—to come forward to meet me eye to eye and comfort me with the thought that our campuses will be better and safer places if the possession of firearms is permitted by anyone other than a law enforcement officer ... If you wish to see further evidence of what a weapon on campuses can do, I invite you to attend my daughter's memorial service. " After the bill was amended, Dr. Cowie commented, “If my making a statement would possibly prevent another family from going through what we did, I knew I'd make the effort. I think Ashley would be proud of me."

Lobbying Activity | Education

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In a radio interview with NRA News on January 11, 2011, Hammer expressed outrage that Florida residents would be denied the ability to bring guns into cemeteries to mourn their lost loved ones. “The case that outraged legislators and us involved a cemetery that last summer decided to ban guns on cemetery property," Hammer stated. "And there was a father who had already buried his son who had been killed in a car crash in that cemetery. And that father always carries his gun in his truck and frequently he would visit his son’s grave on his way home or going to and from.”


Marion Hammer (Board Member)

A 2010 IRS Form 990 filed by Hammer’s United Sportsmen of Florida (USF) organization revealed that the organization loaned Hammer over $50,000 to assist her in purchasing a home (to be repaid at 2% interest). This loan is in addition to the $110,000 in compensation Hammer, the only paid employee of USF, received that year.

Lobbying Activity | Political Corruption |

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

While lobbying for legislation that sought to ban adoption agencies from asking would-be parents questions about firearms ownership, Hammer claimed that any request about gun ownership from an agency connected with government was tantamount to establishing a private gun registry. “Gun registration is illegal in Florida,” said Hammer. “An adoption agency has no right to subvert the privacy rights of gun owners.'' Hammer never specified exactly how gun owners’ rights would be subverted either by questions about gun ownership or registration.

Lobbying Activity | Freedom of Information

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

While lobbying for an NRA-drafted bill that sought to prevent Florida’s private businesses from prohibiting employees from keeping guns locked in their cars in company parking lots, Hammer commented, "The Constitution begins, 'We the people,' not ‘we the Chamber,’ not ‘we the Retail Federation,’ not ‘we the Disney.’ It's 'we the people.'" David Daniel, the chief lobbyist for the Florida Chamber of Commerce—which strongly opposed the legislation—dismissed the bill as a “big government solution looking for a problem.”

The legislation was eventually signed into law by then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist and became effective July 1, 2008.

Lobbying Activity | Labor | Property Rights

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

During the 2007 legislative session, a bill was introduced in the Florida state legislature to prevent private businesses from prohibiting employees from keeping guns locked in their cars in company parking lots. While lobbying for the bill, Hammer commented to the Associated Press: “[Private businesses] ought to be tickled to death for getting immunity from things that are happening in their parking lots. This bill codifies longstanding public policy and constitutional guarantees. It could not be simpler.” She did not provide an explanation, however, of where in the Second Amendment a right to take guns to one’s workplace is granted. Hammer also added, Big corporations want property rights for themselves but not for their customers or employees. “This bill is about people. And people are more important than a chunk of asphalt in a parking lot.”

Mark Wilson, the vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, had a different take on the legislation, saying, “This is the biggest assault on private property rights and the employer-employee relationship that this Legislature has ever heard ... Some of our members are dumbfounded that you can be smart enough to be in the legislature and still consider this bill seriously.”

In April 2007, a survey was released by Tel Opinion Research. The survey indicated that “80% of Floridians [thought] businesses and homeowners should decide what things are brought onto their property” and “56%...said business owners should be able to expressly bar their workers from having guns in the vehicles.”

Lobbying Activity | Labor | Property Rights

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In response to an independent investigation that revealed Florida had issued concealed handgun permits to more than 1,400 people who plead guilty or no contest to felonies; 216 people with outstanding warrants, including for murder; 28 people with active domestic violence restraining orders against them; and 6 registered sex offenders, Hammer said, “We do not participate in legislation that gratuitously takes away the rights of people, because when you begin taking away the rights of people that you don’t like, that’s the slippery slope." She then explained, “When people plead guilty or no contest in these cases frequently, very frequently, these are people who have not committed any crime, but their lawyer advises them to take a plea bargain.” Hammer lobbied successfully against the efforts of three major police organizations—the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Fraternal Order of Police, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association—to tighten the eligibility rules for permit holders and prevent dangerous people from legally carrying guns in public.

Lobbying Activity |

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

During the 2006 legislative session in Florida, Hammer lobbied for a bill that sought to create a public records exemption for concealed handgun permits and rejected permit applications—thereby barring Florida residents from knowing which individuals in their communities had obtained permits, and preventing them from independently auditing the permitting process to ensure public safety. When the legislation was signed into law by then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush in June 2006, Barbara Petersen, the president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, commented, “I think this exemption makes a mockery of the constitutional right of access. The stated purpose of this bill is protect sensitive information. What is sensitive about your name? These are a privileged class of people who are allowed to carry a concealed weapon. They have to jump through some hoops. [But] we have absolutely no opportunity for oversight.” [Source: Palm Beach Post, “Bush Signs Gun-Related Bills into Law,” June 8, 2006]

Lobbying Activity | Freedom of Information

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

On May 8, 2006, Hammer accused business leaders of deceiving her and lying to Florida state legislators. She was upset that a bill that she had lobbied for— which sought to prevent companies from prohibiting employees from keeping guns locked in their cars in company parking lots—had died on the last day of the legislative session. "They can interpret this any way they want to,” said Hammer. “I'm interpreting it as another opportunity to work this issue because it's not over until I say it's over. We intend to work until we pass legislation that protects the existing right of law-abiding gun owners in Florida to keep a lawful product in their car whether they go to buy groceries, visit an amusement center, stop at a doctor's office or anywhere else that people commonly go."

Florida Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Jennifer Krell Davis commented that, “It was clear to most people this was bad policy, and you can’t take a basic property right away from thousands of Floridians without a fight.”

Lobbying Activity | Labor | Property Rights

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

Hammer was the primary lobbyist behind a “Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground” bill that aimed to eliminate Florida’s common law duty to use every reasonable means available to retreat from a conflict prior to using deadly force, which the state's Supreme Court had legitimized by explaining, “Human life is precious, and deadly combat should be avoided if at all possible when imminent danger to oneself can be avoided.” The bill, SB 436, stated that any individual who is in a place where he/she has a legal right to be, and who is “not engaged in an unlawful activity...has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” Individuals using lethal force in this manner were to be granted immunity from both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. Critics labeled SB 436 “Shoot First” legislation.

Hammer explained her reason for pushing the bill as follows: “Through time, in this country, what I like to call bleeding heart criminal coddlers want you to give a criminal an even break, so that when you're attacked, you're supposed to turn around and run, rather than standing your ground and protecting yourself and your family and your property. [I] started thinking then that the day will come when we will have to do some serious thinking about changing this … Taking away the rights of law-abiding people and putting them in jeopardy of being prosecuted and then sued by criminals who were injured when they were committing crimes against victims is wrong.”

She also claimed that during hurricane seasons in Florida, “In a lot of these devastated areas, law enforcement would tell communities, ‘You're on your own, we can't get to you.’ So, we needed to be sure that when people protected themselves, their families and their property, that they weren't gonna be prosecuted by some criminal coddling prosecutor.” Responding to criticism that the "Stand Your Ground" law could be invoked by the perpetrators of violent crime to avoid criminal prosecution, Hammer stated, "We saw a parade of hypotheticals by those who opposed this... What's important is the message it sends, and that's, 'don't attack me.'"

Furthermore, Hammer was unable to produce even a single example of a law-abiding gun owner being prosecuted for using a firearm for legitimate self-defense in the home prior to 2005.

Among those who opposed the “Stand Your Ground” bill were the National District Attorneys Association, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, and police chiefs from cities including Miami and St. Petersburg. Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer commented, “I dislike the law because it encourages people to stand their ground…when they could just as easily walk away. To me, that’s not a civilized society.” Paul Logli, president of the National District Attorneys Association, pointed out that the law “give[s] citizens more rights to use deadly force than we give police officers, and with less review.”

Regarding these concerns posed by critics of the legislation, Hammer said, “It’s nothing but emotional hystericsThose who like to ban guns attempted to say that this law would allow street gangs because they were legally in the street.”

The Castle Doctrine bill was signed into law on April 26, 2005 by Republican Governor Jeb Bush.

Jeannie Suk, a professor at Harvard Law School, published an analysis of Florida’s Castle Doctrine law and has described it in the following terms: “There is an important change in this law. Even the traditional castle doctrine, which was very protective of people in their homes, and allowed them to shoot in their home without retreating, it still meant that you had to be reasonably afraid of death or serious bodily harm. This was a very important requirement. You don't just let people kill in self-defense and say, oh, you were afraid of being attacked. You actually have to show that your fear was reasonable. And now…you don't have to do that because you don't have to prove that in court. But more importantly, even before the trial stage, what happens is that police officers and prosecutors, it affects their decisions about whether to bring cases, whether to make arrests or to bring a prosecution. I think it's a very big deal.” Duval County State Attorney Harry Shorstein has cited “a lesser sensitivity to gun violence and death” after the law was passed.

The New York Times and others have identified numerous cases of questionable (and unnecessary) homicides where shooters invoked the Castle Doctrine defense. A 2011 analysis by the South Florida Sun Sentinel found that “several…accused murderers have successfully used [Florida’s] 2005 ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to prove they were the real victims.” Bradford Cohen, the president of the Broward County chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, has described the law as “one more tool we can use.”

Lobbying Activity | Vigilantism

Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In 1996, Hammer told the New York Times that the solution to ending the gun control debate in the United States was to “get rid of all Liberals.”


Marion Hammer (Board Member)

In 1988, Hammer distributed a newsletter to members of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida—an NRA affiliate organization—accusing state legislators who favored closing loopholes in a concealed carry law of supporting “a modern-day Gestapo movement.” One of the loopholes the legislation sought to correct allowed violent individuals to possess firearms pending a criminal judgment. Republican State Senator John Grant called for Hammer’s resignation and said, “I think Marion Hammer has lost any effectiveness that she might have or any credibility she might have with legislators on both sides of the issue.” Republican State Senator Malcolm Beard added, “I never have been for gun control. But this letter from a lobbyist is filled with half-truths.” The Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Criminal Committee, Bob Johnson, said Hammer possessed, “the lowest standard of integrity I have ever seen for a lobbyist in Tallahassee.”

Lobbying Activity |
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