The National Rifle Association (NRA) is tapping Art Thomm to replace longtime Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer after she announced her retirement on Thursday.
The NRA told The Capitolist that Thomm, a veteran NRA lobbyist, will take over as the new Florida State Director for the lobbying arm of the gun rights advocacy group. The West Virginia native is no stranger to advocating for pro-gun policies. He helped pass Constitutional Carry in several states across the country, and currently serves as the NRA-ILA State Director for Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
Prior to his stint as the State Director of Legislative Affairs at NRA-ILA, Thomm got his start as a state liaison for the NRA. He also served as Vice President of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League. He graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in business administration and management.
Thomm told The Capitolist he is excited to follow in the footsteps of an “absolute icon” and help protect and advance the Second Amendment in the Sunshine State.
“Marion Hammer devoted decades of service protecting the rights of law-abiding Florida gun owners. Though her legacy will never be forgotten, our new Florida State Director, Art Thomm, arrives with his own decorated history that includes leading the charge to pass Constitutional Carry in West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. The NRA, along with our members and supporters throughout the Sunshine State, will be well served in the days to come,” said Christopher Kopacki, managing director of NRA State & Local Affairs
Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of Hammer informing Florida’s political arena that she was stepping down from her position after more than four decades of service to the NRA.
Hammer, a former President of the NRA, has long been considered as one of the state’s most influential lobbyists. She served as president of the NRA from 1995 to 1998 and has led the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, the state’s NRA affiliate, since 1976. She has been credited with influencing many of Florida’s gun laws, including the state’s “stand your ground” law and concealed carry.
“It has been an honor to serve NRA members as state lobbyist in Florida. 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, 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,” Hammer said on Thursday.
The NRA added that Hammer will continue to serve as an advisor, assisting with Second Amendment advocacy in Florida and beyond.