A longtime state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association (NRA) is retiring from her position, according to a Thursday press release from the organization.
Marion Hammer has worked as a lobbyist for the NRA in Florida for more than 40 years and will continue to serve as an adviser to the organization to assist in advocating for Second Amendment rights in- and outside the state.
Hammer said in a statement that it has been an “honor” to serve NRA members in Florida and work alongside NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre in pushing for laws protecting gun rights.
“When I was first hired in September 1978, I was given one mission — ‘Do what you need to do, but do not let Florida become another California,’” Hammer said. “For 44 years, I am proud to say that I faithfully delivered on that assignment with the help of our great NRA members.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Hammer’s advocacy for fewer restrictions on guns is partly credited for Florida’s nickname as the “Gunshine State.” During her time as a lobbyist in the state, it was the “launching pad” of many pro-gun legislative initiatives, according to the NRA release.
Hammer served as the first female president of the NRA from 1996 to 1998. Her proudest achievement as president, according to the press release, was the creation of the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program, which instructs children on safe ways to act around guns.
“Marion Hammer’s name has become synonymous with the Second Amendment and with the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement. “She is a dynamic and legendary advocate who has led the way with many laws that started in Florida and then served as a blueprint across the country.”