Yesterday Marion Hammer, former President and current lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, endorsed Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) in the race for Commissioner of Agricultural & Consumer Services. Hammer is also the executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida.
She issued this letter to Simpson . . .
Hammer had this to say to Florida Politics about Simpson’s support of gun rights . . .
“A lot of people talk about defending the Second Amendment, but Wilton Simpson has actually defended our right to bear arms,” said Marion Hammer, NRA past president and Unified Sportsmen of Florida executive director.
Simpson landed the endorsement of both organizations.
Hammer said Simpson’s record makes him the best candidate for gun rights supporters.
“The Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner has the duty to oversee and administer the statutory laws that govern the concealed weapon and firearm licensing process,” she said. “We believe it is vital to have a Commissioner who understands the importance of running this Cabinet office with integrity, honor, and who will not politicize our constitutional rights.”
Hammer seems to suffer from a very short political memory. This is the same Marion Hammer who issued a letter back in 2018 labeling Wilton Simpson a “betrayer” for supporting a new gun control bill following the Parkland shooting . . .
[Wilton Simpson, and those who voted for SB 7026] lacked the courage to uphold their oath of office and keep their word to constituents who voted for them. They were in total control. They no longer deserve your trust. …
When they ask for your support, when they ask you to volunteer in their campaigns, when they ask for your donations, when they ask for your votes, think long and hard about what they had done…..
– Marion Hammer, NRA / USF Memo – April 18, 2018
Strong words. But not only did Simpson vote for the 2018 gun control bill, he claims that he wrote it. That’s the bill, slapped together following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, that established red flag confiscation, banned bump stocks and binary triggers, mandated a mandatory three-day waiting period, and prevents anyone under the age of 21 from legally buying a firearm.
That bill was signed into law by then-Governor Rick Scott. Senator Simpson is proud enough of the bill that he has boasted of writing it his campaign materials . . .
To be clear, Hammer has endorsed the man who says he wrote a bill, part of which the NRA is now now attempting to overturn in court (under-21 gun ownership).
This is the same Senator Wilton Simpson who, as Rep. Michelle Salzman made clear, is one of the primary roadblocks to enacting constitutional carry in Florida.
Unless a rumored special session is called to take up the matter, permitless carry will have died in the Florida legislature this year for the third consecutive legislative session. That defeat can be credited in large part to Senator Simpson’s efforts to keep it bottled up in committee.
So let’s sum up, shall we? The NRA’s person on the ground in Florida has issued an official endorsement of the man who claims he wrote one of the most intrusive and unconstitutional gun control bills in the state’s history. A bill the NRA itself is fighting in court. She’s endorsing the man who has stood in the way of Florida joining the growing number of states in the constitutional carry club (now 24 states and counting).
With Simpson’s record and the things Hammer has said about him in the past, she was under no obligation to endorse anyone in the race. She could have stayed on the sidelines and let the election play out. Simpson, after all, has millions in the bank and is running “with no substantial opposition” on the Republican side. He will likely face Democrat Ryan Morales in November, who had total contributions of $1784 as of the beginning of the year.
Instead, Hammer has gone out of her way to put the NRA’s imprimatur on him. Someone she once said didn’t “stay true to [his] values, [his] oath of office, [his] word and didn’t fight to support, defend and protect the Second Amendment.”
That’s not a good look for Hammer. Or for the NRA.