The National Rifle Association has already filed a lawsuit challenging Florida Senate Bill 7026, but that is not the only attack they’ll launch against the legislation: today their lobbyist Marion Hammer sent an email blasting Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-FL) for his “betrayal of law-abiding firearms owners.”
The bill, which was signed into law last week by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), was passed in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and teachers dead. It appropriates hundreds of millions of dollars to improve school security, provide additional school resource officers, and expand mental health services, as well as creating a school marshal program allowing trained and certified school employees to carry weapons on campus. A group of family members of the victims gave their vocal support to the bill, and are now supporting similar legislation at the federal level.
The bill also imposes a three-day waiting period on gun purchases and raises the minimum age for purchasing a firearm from 18 to 21 years of age. These last two aspects of the new law are what raised the ire of the NRA, and were the focus of Hammer’s email.
“We Were Born at Night But It Wasn’t Last Night, Mr. Speaker,” read the email’s subject line. Hammer blasted Corcoran for calling the bill “one of the greatest Second Amendment victories we’ve ever had,” denouncing it as “adding insult to injury” of “the betrayal of law-abiding firearms owners.”
Corcoran “helped engineer” the bill, wrote Hammer, and then “tried to justify his betrayal” by claiming the school marshal provision as a Second Amendment victory.
Hammer called this idea “complete nonsense” that “ignores the unconstitutional gun control included in the bill.”
Corcoran had been widely expected to announce he was entering the Republican primary for Governor, now that the legislative session has ended. Getting in the cross-hairs of a powerful lobby like the NRA, however, makes an uphill climb against Agriculture Commission Adam Putnam (R-FL) and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) — who are both beating him in terms of fundraising and name recognition — even steeper.
Political chatter around the state seems to view Hammer’s email as a likely death blow for Corcoran’s chances in the gubernatorial contest. Politico quoted a Republican lawmaker as calling Corcoran “the first casualty” of the bill and the NRA’s opposition to it: “For Richard, this is deadly in a Republican primary.”
“Richard Corcoran is about to learn the peril of crossing not only Marion Hammer but also hundreds of thousands of legitimate Florida gun owners, who take the Second Amendment more seriously than he did,” said one Florida Republican strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“[Corcoran] can kiss his chance at the Republican nomination for governor goodbye,” said another Florida-based Republican consultant, also speaking anonymously. “He should just run for state senate.”
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[Cross-posted at RedState.]