Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Mike Spies recently spent a year investigating Marion Hammer, the legendary NRA board member and Second Amendment proponent in Florida.
Michael Spies is no novice. He is a professional writer who was on the editorial board of the New Yorker for over three years. He has a Bachelors in English from the University of Vermont, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction from Columbia University in the City of New York. He spent nearly two years at Vocativ, leaving in June of 2015 to join The Trace, the hard-core anti-Second Amendment blog financed by Michael Bloomberg.
Much of Spies investigation centered on freedom of information requests for emails from the Florida Legislature.
Mike, uncontroversially, found that Marion Hammer is an effective lobbyist for restoring Second Amendment rights.
Most bills are written by lobbyists, who keep in close contact with sympathetic legislators. Marion is no exception. Spies highlights one of Marion's success stories. From thetrace.org:
Hammer works with a government staff lawyer to create the ‘Pop-Tart’ gun bill — months before it has a sponsor
In March 2013, an 8-year-old Maryland boy was suspended from his elementary school after he chewed a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun and pretended to shoot his classmates. Five months later, in September, Hammer set about crafting a bill that would prohibit schools from disciplining students who play with pretend guns.
Emails show Hammer, over the course of several days, working on the legislation’s language with a staff lawyer from the Florida House of Representatives. Notably, no lawmakers are ever copied on the correspondence, nor is there any indication in the the documents that any elected officials are involved in the drafting process — the legislation did not yet have a formal sponsor. Four months later, in February 2014, Dennis Baxley, who was then a state representative, finally introduces Hammer’s proposal as a bill.
Mike Spies works hard to make this sound somehow unusual or strange. But this is exactly how most bills are created. Lobbyists work with staff to shape bills that can be passed and that do what they are designed to do.
Legislators almost never write bills themselves. It takes months of work to make sure the bill is ready for prime time. Only then, and only when the timing of the legislature allows for it, is the bill sponsored and introduced. The unique thing about Marion Hammer is that she is extraordinarily good at what she does.
In June of 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed the “Pop Tart” bill into law. From the miamiherald.com:
On guns, Scott signed the so-called Pop-Tart bill (HB 7029) that allows children to play with simulated guns in school without fear of punishment. A boy in Maryland was suspended for nibbling a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun.
Marion Hammer has exceptional clout in the Florida Legislature because she has exceptional credibility with Florida gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, and with Florida legislators. Again, no surprise.
What is interesting is that an anti-Second Amendment group had the money to commit a trained writer and investigator to a year to attempt to dig up dirt on Marion Hammer.
In the end, they found that Marion Hammer is very good at what she does, and she is supported by millions of Florida gun owners and Second Amendment supporters.
While those who desire a disarmed population will likely be dismayed by Marion Hammer's effectiveness, the majority of the population and the vast majority of gun owners are likely to find her activities both welcome and lauded.
Marion Hammer was awarded the first concealed weapons permit in 1987. In addition to restoring the right to carry in Florida, and exercising that right, Marion has received numerous awards for her efforts.
- In 1985, Marion received the NRA's Roy Rogers Man of the Year Award.
- In 1993, Marion won the National Safety Councils Outstanding Community Service Award for creating the Eddie Eagle gun safety program for children.
I won't list all of Marion Hammer's accomplishments. Others have done that.
What is interesting is the number of people who have tried to discredit Marion Hammer, who have all come up dry. Her wikipedia article lists about a dozen articles that attempt to demonize Marion. At least three of them are written by Michael Spies.
Michael Spies is just one of a long list of leftists who have attempted to demonize her. It never works, because the left's idea of wrong is what most patriotic Americans consider right. False assumptions about reality lead to false conclusions.
The people of Florida disagree with those who paint Marion Hammer as evil or as simply wrong. Marion was inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame in 2017.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.