Her name is Marion Hammer. She is 79 years of age. In 1995 she became the first female president in the 125-year history of her organization. In 1993 she was awarded with the Outstanding Community Service Award from the National Safety Council, and in 2005 she was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. Impressed? Don’t be.
Marion Hammer’s is the face of evil. Marion Hammer’s organization is the National Rifle Association (NRA), and in this writer’s opinion she is more worthy of the Women’s Hall of Infamy award. Hammer has helped see some of the most dangerous gun laws pass through the Florida legislature, including the infamous Stand Your Ground law that allowed George Zimmerman to get off scot-free after murdering a 17-year-old unarmed African-American youth in 2012. She was also instrumental in passing a 2011 statute that makes it illegal for local elected officials to enact their own gun control laws, lest they face a $5,000 penalty and possible removal from office. How, you ask, does one woman who holds no position in government have such power?The answer is first off that the NRA has power well beyond what should be allowed by a single-industry lobbyist group. The second part of the answer is that in Florida, certain parts of gun laws are enforced by the Department of Agriculture rather than law enforcement agencies. And the third part of the answer is that Ms. Hammer is an unapologetic bully.Recently, the Tampa Bay Times acquired and published all 298 emails between Hammer and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services from 2014 through early 2018. The documents show that essentially, Ms. Hammer and thus the NRA are the de facto leaders of the Florida Department of Agriculture, at least as regards gun regulations. For example …
“Who on earth was arrogant and antigun enough to authorize this?” she asks in one email.
” … put this at the top of the priority list and do it right away,” she orders in another.
After the department of agriculture denied someone’s renewal for a concealed weapons license, Hammer sent an email demanding to know what happened. “Guys, this is your first test from me since Ken moved to his new position,” Hammer wrote, referring to an agency official. “Do him proud and find out what the heck is going on.” Almost immediately, Paul Pagano, the assistant director in the department’s licensing division, replied, “Ms. Hammer, I’ll research it first thing in the morning and provide answers.” Even though the application wasn’t notarized correctly, Pagano went ahead and approved it anyway, because … Hammer had asked him to.
Any changes in the department’s concealed weapons program are sent to Hammer “for your consideration” or “for your review” before even the legislature can look at them. On the off-chance any new proposals or changes don’t go by Hammer first, she makes sure she gets her hands on them.
“I understand some of your people are walking around some new language dealing with [concealed weapons] licensing and Tax Collectors fees,” Hammer wrote an agency official. “Care to share it with me?”
But Hammer’s influence over the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services isn’t limited to gun regulation … she has stepped into other areas now, too. From the Tampa Bay Times, 22 September 2018:
On the Fourth of July 2016, National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer fired off an email to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“This crap needs to stop,” begins Hammer in the first of seven emails she would exchange with the department over the next 48 hours. “You need to figure out how to stop business email spamming.”
Those who work in the Florida agency that oversees gun permits never know when Hammer will command their attention — or what about. Nights, weekends and even holidays, she sends messages to senior department officials with complaints and demands. They often respond within minutes.
Using an aol.com email address, Hammer’s emails touch on topics such as spam email, South Korean dogs and a personal problem with a pest control company.
Brusque and demanding, the messages suggest Hammer is rarely told “no.”
In a 2013 whistleblower lawsuit, an employee alleged that the director of Putnam’s licensing division, Grea Bevis, told her she “worked for the NRA” when she tried to draw attention to problems with the gun licensing program. The department denied the accusation, but settled with the employee for $30,000.
It is a playbook that gun-rights advocates have repeated to much success: First Florida, then the country.
Somehow, the State of Florida has turned over their state to one of the most despicable organizations in the nation, and in particular to one of their most obnoxious lobbyists, Marion Hammer. How did this happen, folks? It is time this nation and its people stand up to the NRA. They are no longer just a lobbyist group, but they are a very serious threat to the well-being of the people of this nation.