Opinion by Marion Hammer
Florida – -(AmmoLand.com)- My name is Marion Hammer. I’ve written in AmmoLand News before…
I work as a gun rights lobbyist on gun rights for the NRA and for it’s Florida affiliate – Unified Sportsmen of Florida. I tell you this for three reasons:
- To give full disclosure
- To provide a better context
- And frankly, because I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished in Florida and beyond for our members and all law-abiding gun owners.
Every morning I am honored and humbled to wake up and fight for our rights here in Florida. And, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I do get a sense of satisfaction when we defeat the gun control zealots and anti-hunting fanatics.
But, my fights have not been confined to Florida. Roughly twenty years ago, I was engaged in another battle. This time it was a fight for the leadership of the NRA. Wayne LaPierre was on one side.
On the other side was Neal Knox – Jeff Knox’s late father. As some of you may remember, I was the President of the NRA at that time. Many may have been too young to remember.
Jeff is correct that Wayne won the confidence of the NRA Board of Directors during that battle. But, Jeff fails to disclose that it was his father, Neal Knox, who was trying to oust Wayne — and who engaged in an all-out, no holds barred, brutal fight in his failed attempt to take control of the NRA.
I bring this up, not to disparage the memory of a fellow Second Amendment activist who was a long time personal friend of mine but to give the truth to those who may not know the truth.
Make no mistake: The senior Knox had his own philosophy, and he had his own team of consultants and vendors that he wanted to bring in. He was an ambitious man who wished to control the NRA. BUT, it is essential for readers to have that disclosure to provide full context to the narrative that his son, Jeff Knox, now provides.
Jeff also talked about financial difficulties. What he doesn’t mention is that there is a coordinated corporate and political campaign orchestrated by Mike Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to intimidate banks and insurance institutions into not doing business with the NRA.
Undoubtedly, many of you have read about it post-Parkland. But, I ask you to go on your computer and do some research. You’ll find that the Cuomo actions were viewed as so treacherous that even the ACLU joined with the NRA to fight this action. That’s a significant fact.
Jeff doesn’t mention that the leadership team at the NRA has worked very hard to get everything back on track and has achieved some settlements that were favorable to our cause. He also misstates that NRA employees have been laid off at Fairfax. That isn’t true. Due to budget cuts, one of our vendors laid off a number of their employees. And, frankly, that’s a sensible course of action given the circumstances.
Jeff says that NRA folks are well paid – but he doesn’t mention that all the rights we have today are because of these talented folks at NRA. Or perhaps more significantly – the gamut of gun bans and ammo bans that we DON’T have because of the NRA and its work.
We have great Right-to-Carry laws in more than 80% of our country – thanks to the NRA. I was proud to work with the folks at the NRA as Florida became the state that started a nationwide revolution for the right to carry. Make no mistake; when we started this “shall issue” Right-to-Carry battle, there were less than a handful of states that had any pro-carry laws. There was only one organization leading the way – the NRA.
We have Castle Doctrine laws because of the NRA. Preemption, hunter harassment, range protection, no gun confiscation during emergencies, more hunting lands and let’s not forget that thanks to the NRA, the American firearms industry exists today because of the NRA. And, so much more. That’s a pretty good return on an NRA membership if you ask anyone.
I know that many of you will bring up the issue of bump stocks. Yes, it is complete “heifer dust” to think that banning bump stocks will make us all safer. Bump stocks blur the line and alter the performance of a semi-auto and made it function like a full-auto.
That’s why the NRA said that it ought to be regulated – NOT banned.
Why? Because politicians [had the votes] and were building steam [in 2018 Congress] and moving toward a ban on all semi-automatic firearms. Frankly, I find it curious that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump stocks, to begin with – but that’s another debate for another day. [the call for regulation by the NRA took the wind out of this legislative effort and moved the bump stock ban, now a “rule” instead of a law, into the regulatory realm where it can now be argued against (lawsuits have been filed ) and ruled on by the courts.]
Make no mistake: every single day there are very smart and well-compensated people in NY who wake up with one mission – destroy the NRA. Why the NRA? Because they know that the only thing that stands in their way of their unbridled desire to destroy the Second Amendment is the NRA.
To be clear, it is the NRA and Wayne LaPierre. Wayne is one of the most humble guys I know. He routinely turns down profile pieces, and he always tells people that it’s the members who are the bedrock of the NRA. Wayne doesn’t just say that. He believes that. More so than anyone else.
But, behind his unassuming nature lies the soul of a shrewd and courageous fighter. Unlike some, he will fight like hell to protect your rights. He will stand up and tell the truth – as ugly as it is – in front of the whole world and take the hits. And, you know he has. He doesn’t give a rip about those DC social circles and country clubs. He’s just one heck of a freedom fighter. Wayne is who the NRA and the Second Amendment need today and in the future.
Now is not the time for auditions for Wayne LaPierre wanna-bes, particularly those who aren't fit to hold his coat. And it is indeed not the time for a son who’s carried a father’s grudge for decades to try to stoke the flames to settle the score.
It’s a time for all of us to fight. And, our best warrior is Wayne LaPierre. Our enemies know that. I hope you do too.
About Marion Hammer
Marion P. Hammer is a past president of the National Rifle Association and current executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida.