Icon: Marion P. Hammer
Past president of National Rifle Association, 1995 to 1998; executive director of Unified Sportsman of Florida; certified firearms instructor, age 69
[Photo: Jeffrey Camp]
» My youngest daughter, Sally, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor 12 years ago, in May of ’96 — just as I was becoming president of NRA. Shands gave her six months. She had a little girl not yet a year old and a little boy, not yet 3. I was devastated. So I took her to Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins didn’t agree with Shands, and their philosophy was: It’s inoperable. We’ll watch it and do everything we can to keep it stable and to allow her to have the best quality of life she can. She stretched that six months into almost 12 years.
|Laying Down the Hammer
One day, Marion Hammer was confronted by rowdy men who harassed her. So, she pulled her gun to protect herself.
Hear her stories
» The Second Amendment is the means with which we protect freedom. If you lose your rights under the Second Amendment, you lose freedom.
» Before I was 6 years old, my granddaddy taught me how to shoot. He’d go hunting in the afternoons, and I’d want to go with him, but he wouldn’t let me go because I hadn’t been taught. And so I changed from saying, ‘Let me go’ to, ‘Teach me.’ When I started asking to be taught, then he taught me, and then I was allowed to go.
» When we undertake a mission to pass a piece of legislation that is needed, we don’t quit. If it’s worth passing, it’s worth passing now or later. But we won’t quit.
» I grew up on the farm. My dad was killed at Okinawa. I was not yet 6 years old. I had a little sister 2½ years younger, and mother couldn’t work and take care of two children, so I went to live on the farm with my dad’s parents (in Columbia, S.C.). My little sister lived in town with my mother’s mother, so she could pick her up and have her at night and then she’d come to see me on the weekends.
» I’m a lifelong Democrat.
» I moved to Florida in ’74. My husband, now my ex-husband, was transferred here to build the new Capitol. He was the project manager.
» Charlton Heston was one of the most personable people you would ever be around. I knew George Bush before he became president. Norman Schwarzkopf is a great individual. I’ve shot with him.
» Right around ’78, the NRA had formed an organization — Unified Sportsmen of Florida — so that they could have a presence here in the Capitol, but it wasn’t working the way they had envisioned, and one day someone asked me what was wrong. ... I was doing volunteer lobbying. I said, ‘Well, it’s structured wrong.’ And they said, ‘Well, why don’t you take it over and restructure it and take a crack at running it?’ I’ve been doing that ever since.
» I have three Ragdoll cats. They’re incredible. ... When somebody comes in a house, some cats will run and hide. Mine are going to come and see who you are and what you’re about. It amazes people that here are these three gorgeous cats looking up at you saying in effect, ‘Who are you and what are you doing in our house?’
» The ’68 Gun Control Act is what got me heavily and actively involved. Because of the atrocious acts of criminals, the Congress decided to infringe upon the constitutional and God-given rights of law-abiding people, and that made me angry.
» I’ve had NRA members from all over the country call me from time to time and say, ‘I have a son or a daughter at FSU, and I haven’t heard from them in three days. This is their name. This is their address. This is their phone number. Can you help me? I’m desperate. I’m an NRA life member, and you’re the only one I knew to go to.’ Every single time it’s been a young man or a young woman who just forgot to call home, who was busy doing things and missed the phone calls, but because we are family, they know they can call me, and I know I can call them.
» My grandson has dyslexia. He goes to Woodland Hall Academy. That’s the laboratory school for Dyslexia Research Institute. It’s one of the finest in the nation. He’s lucky it’s here in Tallahassee. Because of his dyslexia, I learned a great deal and decided that when the Legislature is dealing with those issues, I need to help.
» A lot of people view being attacked by your opponents or the media as being a negative. I view it as an opportunity to get my side out there.
In case you missed it:
- Florida Icon: Carlton Ward Jr.
- Florida Icon: Mel Tillis
- Robert M. 'Bob' Beall II is a Florida ‘Icon'
- Peter Meinke - A life in poetry
- Carl Hiaasen is a Florida ‘Icon'
- Nan-Yao Su is a Florida 'Icon'
- Roland Martin is a Florida ‘Icon'
- Florida Icon: Derrick Brooks
- An interview with Annika Sorenstam
- Iconic Florida developer H. Irwin Levy
- ‘Alligator' Ron Bergeron
- Howard Schnellenberger is a Florida 'Icon'
- Florida Icon: Barbara Mainster
- Florida Icon: Walter Lanier ‘Red' Barber
- Louise Gopher is a 'Florida Icon'
- H. Lee Moffitt is a 'Florida Icon'
- Kiran Patel is a 'Florida Icon'
- 'Florida Icon' Howard C. Tibbals shares life lessons
- Alex D. Brickler is a 'Florida Icon'
- Life lessons from hockey great Phil Esposito
- Lucy Morgan is a 'Florida Icon'
- Donald Goodman is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ed Droste is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ray Ferrero Jr. - Florida Icon
- W. George Allen is a 'Florida Icon'
- Tom James is a 'Florida Icon'
- Patrick Smith is a 'Florida Icon'
- Jerry Uelsmann is a 'Florida Icon'
- John L. Parker is a 'Florida Icon'
- C.C. 'Doc' Dockery is a 'Florida Icon'
- Toni Jennings is a 'Florida Icon'
- Dave Barry is a 'Florida Icon'
- Shaquille O'Neal is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ruth Alexander is a Florida Icon
- Brian Johnson is a Florida Icon
- Florida Icon: Sam Gibbons
- Thomas 'Blue' Fulford
- Icon: Don 'Big Daddy' Garlits
- Icon: Charles E. 'Chuck' Cobb Jr.
- Icon: John DeGrove
- Icon: Charles Gray
- Icon: Harry Crews
- Icon: Burt Reynolds
- Icon: Tibor Hollo
- Icon: Gary Mormino
- Icon: Richard Gonzmart
- Icon: Bob Graham
- Icon: Ward Hall
- Icon: Eugenie Clark
- Icon: Warrick Dunn
- Icon: Arthur Rutenberg
- Icon: Chris Evert
- Icon: Preston Haskell
- Icon: Joseph Kittinger
- Icon: The Fanjul Brothers
- Icon: Romero Britto
- Icon: Steve Raymund
- Icon: Cesar L. Alvarez
- Icon: Juan 'Chi Chi' Rodriguez
- Icon: Gay Culverhouse
- Icon: Gene Leedy
- Icon: William R. Hough
- Icon: Peter Prichard
- Icon: Ed Price
- Icon: David L. Paul
- Icon: Jan Garavaglia
- Icon: Claude R. Kirk Jr.
- Icon: Don Zimmer
- Icon: Kenneth H. 'Buddy' MacKay
- Icon: Dick Vitale
- Icon: Michael Gannon
- Icon: Marcella Hazan
- Icon: Tony Little
- Icon: Wade L. Hopping
- Icon: Edgar Mitchell
- Icon: James Rosenquist
- Icon: Bob Martinez
- Icon: Arnold Palmer
- Icon: Don Shula
- Icon: Mike Peters
- Icon: Margaret D. Lowman
- Icon: Doug Williams
- Icon: Bob Butterworth
- Icon: Fred Schultz
- Icon: Eugene Patterson
- Icon: Harris Mullen
- Icon: Bill Haast
- Icon: Albert Dunlap
- Icon: Joseph Woodrow Hatchett
- Icon video: Joseph Hatchett
- Icon: Talbot 'Sandy' D'Alemberte
- Icon: John Walsh
- Icon: James Robert Cade
- Icon: Nathaniel Pryor Reed
- Icon: Gus Stavros
- Icon: Betty Castor
- Icon: Mary Ann Carroll
- Icon: George Steinbrenner
- Icon: Ferdie Pacheco
- Icon: Vic Dunaway
- Icon: George Smathers
- Icon: Phyllis Apple
- Icon: Nick Bollettieri
- Icon: Harris Rosen
- Icon: Max Mayfield
- Icon: Carrie Meek
- Icon: Andres Duany
- Icon: T. Willard Fair
- Icon: Bobby Bowden
- Icon: Stetson Kennedy
- Icon: Don Francisco
- Icon: Janet Reno
- Icon: Reubin O'D. Askew
- Icon: Clyde Butcher
- Icon: Willie Gary
- Icon: Wayne Huizenga