The National Rifle Association announced Thursday that Marion Hammer, the first female NRA president and veteran Florida-based lobbyist for the organization, is stepping down after 44 years on the front lines of the Second Amendment battle.
In a statement, the NRA noted, Hammer “will continue to serve as an advisor to the NRA, assisting with Second Amendment advocacy in the Sunshine State and beyond.”
“Marion Hammer’s name has become synonymous with the Second Amendment and with the NRA,” said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO. “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. For more than 40 years, I have been in the trenches with Marion for landmark fights, including Right-to-Carry, Castle Doctrine and other life-saving, pro-hunting and pro-Second Amendment laws. I am grateful that Marion will stay on as an advisor to the Association – so our members can continue to benefit from her expertise and defense of their freedoms.”
Hammer became the first woman to head the 151-year-old organization, serving from late 1995 to 1998. She came into that office upon the death of then-NRA President Thomas L. Washington, and was re-elected to two full one-year terms beginning in Spring 1996. She has remained on the NRA Board while heading the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, where she was continually busy lobbying for gun rights in Tallahassee.
“It has been an honor to serve NRA members as state lobbyist in Florida,” Hammer said in a prepared statement. “Above all, it’s been my privilege to serve and to fight alongside great warriors for our cause like Wayne, without whom many of our nation’s self-defense laws would not have been possible.
“When I was first hired in September 1978,” she recalled, “I was given one mission – ‘Do what you need to do, but do not let Florida become another California.’ For 44 years, I am proud to say that I faithfully delivered on that assignment with the help of our great NRA members.”
With Hammer at the helm, Florida became the launching pad for many pro-gun and pro-self-defense legislative initiatives over the years. She rose through the NRA’s leadership ranks and often said that her proudest achievement was the launch of the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program that was launched during her presidency of the NRA. To date, this program has reached more than 32 million children across America. A resident of Florida, she has been recognized by many national and Florida organizations as a “power player” in politics and constitutional freedom for decades.