The National Rifle Association's top lobbyist in Florida has squared off against a writer (and gun-owning hunter) who said in a New York Times opinion piece that the NRA cares more about unbridled gun rights than it does about actual hunting.
Lily Raff McCaulou's editorial called out the NRA for not supporting environmental issues that affect hunting and wildlife, and for paying more attention to things like assault weapons and unregulated gun use.
(Here's a link to the piece, titled "I Hunt, but the NRA Isn't For Me.")
Marion Hammer, a former NRA president and the chief lobbyist responsible for Florida's Stand Your Ground law, is firing back.
In a sharply-worded retort to McCaulou, Hammer said the NRA is about defending the Second Amendment, and making sure the liberty of Americans is protected from gun control (which, as we learn in the letter, is actually "people control.")
Written in lofty conservative prose, the letter contains the word "Freedom" 13 times.
"You go right ahead and make your choices to hunt, to own guns ("but not for self-defense"), to support gun control laws and to vote to repeal the Stand Your Ground law. The NRA will continue to fight for your Freedom to make those choices," Hammer wrote. "Through out history, a few good men and women have always stood strong and sacrificed to protect the many. That includes the unwise who chose not to protect themselves -- and even those who brag about such folly in print."
Hammer is known as a staunch advocate for gun rights who has been able to get nearly every one of the gun lobby's wishes passed into law in Florida. Her name has been in the spotlight since the shooting of Trayvon Martin became an international story, drawing more focus to Florida's Stand Your Ground law.
Hammer's full letter is below.
Ms. Lily Raff McCaulou
The New York Times
Dear Ms. McCaulou
Your April 24, 2012 column in The New York Times titled I Hunt, but the N.R.A. Isn't for Me actually shows you know little about the NRA and even less about the Second Amendment and history. The NRA fights to protect and preserve the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment has never been about hunting, it has never been about target shooting and it has never been about gun control.
The Second Amendment is about FREEDOM and the means with which to protect your personal Freedom and our collective Freedom. Those who support gun control are really supporting "people control." A government cannot control, subvert the rights of and enslave a Free people. To maintain Freedom requires the means with which to protect that Freedom -- ARMS. History supplies that proof.
To live Free in your home, your place of work, your place of recreation and on the streets as you travel to and from your chosen destinations is Freedom. Freedom that many take for granted and rely upon others to protect.
To preserve that Freedom requires that we have the Freedom to chose whether or not to go armed.
If you chose not to go armed and rely upon others to protect your Freedom to hunt and enjoy wildlife -- that's YOUR choice and you have the Freedom to make that choice. The 4 million members of the NRA are standing strong to protect that Freedom for you, whether you care or not.
So, you go right ahead and make your choices to hunt, to own guns ("but not for self-defense"), to support gun control laws and to vote to repeal the Stand Your Ground law. The NRA will continue to fight for your Freedom to make those choices.
Through out history, a few good men and women have always stood strong and sacrificed to protect the many. That includes the unwise who chose not to protect themselves -- and even those who brag about such folly in print.
Marion P. Hammer
NRA Past President