The National Rifle Association’s longtime Florida lobbyist and first female president, Marion Hammer, will retire but remain an adviser to the organization, the NRA announced Thursday.
Hammer, 83, said in a statement that she served the gun rights group for 44 years and is proud of her record on Second Amendment issues. She is the first woman to serve as president of the organization, from 1996 to 1998.
“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.”
Among many other things, Hammer is credited as a major force behind Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which removes the duty to retreat before using deadly force in the face of serious danger.
Florida was the first in the nation to adopt such a law in 2005. Similar measures have been passed in other states amid criticism that they increase violent confrontations leading to fatal shootings.
“Marion Hammer’s name has become synonymous with the Second Amendment and with the NRA,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the NRA. “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.”
Hammer is also a member of the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.