Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NRA Clashes with Other Gun Groups over Florida Mental Health Gun Bill

It’s not very often that one witnesses infighting within the gun community, but the National Rifle Association is embroiled in a battle with fellow pro-gun organizations, the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) and Gun Owners of America (GOA), over a controversial Florida Bill – House Bill 1355 — that would prohibit individuals who voluntarily seek mental health treatment upon being deemed a ‘threat to themselves or others’ from purchasing a firearm.

Under current law, only people who are involuntarily committed are banned from buying a gun, those who willingly seek treatment after being detained as part of the state’s Baker Act – which allows judges, law enforcement, physicians and mental health professionals to call for the involuntary examination of an individual — can still purchase a firearm.

Critics of HB 1355 argue that the bill skirts due process and has the potential to erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

In response to this grassroots activism in opposition to this NRA-backed bill, Marion Hammer, the NRA’s point person in the Sunshine State, has lashed out against GOA and NAGR and gone to great lengths to educate gun owners about the bill in an attempt to refute what she called “patently false” criticism and information.

“These are not organizations that are here on the ground, working the issue,” said Hammer in an interview with the Miami Herald.  “They are full of disinformation designed to inflame and upset people and help them raise money.”

Hammer rejected the notion that the bill poses a risk to responsible gun owners.


  1. This shows that even the NRA can get things wrong. Pass this law, and gun owners will be less likely to seek treatment when it would have the greatest effect. Bullying gun control freaks always want to find ways to take guns away from good citizens and yearn for yet more restrictions and classes of prohibited people. That's because they care only about control, not about safety.

  2. Yours is an empty argument, Greg. What is more important? Your right to own a gun, or your mental stability (and possibly your life, if suicidal)? Any rational person would say mental stability (and if you are so mentally unstable that you would seek help, then I argue you are beyond the ability to think rationally enough to make life-and-death decisions).

    Love of one's fetish for lethal weapons does not outweigh the safety of that individual or those around him.

    I'm pleasantly surprised that the NRA is doing this. But I'm not surprised that the other groups are fighting it. We have an extremist gun lobby here in Oregon who fights it, as well (the same group that has advocated giving guns back to felons, I might add).

    1. I should also add that there should be a clear route for clearing the person's name and returning their gun rights, once they have been deemed safe by a mental health professional.