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.