Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gawker Got Literally Everything Wrong About Florida’s New Warning Shots Bill

Families Against Mandatory Minimums, not the NRA, helped craft bill

The viral content blog Gawker published an article Friday headlined: “The NRA Literally Wrote Florida’s New Bill to Legalize Warning Shots.” However, a brief investigation by the Free Beacon revealed that the NRA literally did not write Florida’s new bill to legalize warning shots.

The Florida legislature is considering expanding the state’s “stand your ground” law to encompass “threatened use of force.” Specifically, the bill is intended to shield those who brandish a gun or fire a warning shot in self-defense from the state’s 10-20-Life law, which imposes mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for felony crimes involving a firearm.

Gawker reporter Adam Weinstein wrote Friday that Marion Hammer, a former NRA president and lobbyist for the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, was responsible for writing and pushing the bill.

In an interview with the Free Beacon, Hammer said that was not the case.
“We did not write it,” Hammer said. “It’s Families Against Mandatory Minimum’s bill, and my understanding is that Greg Newburn and his staff wrote it. They just came to us and asked if we’d endorse the bill.”

Greg Newburn, the Florida director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), corroborated Hammer’s story.

“Marion is correct,” Newburn said via email. “I asked for her help in reforming 10-20-Life, and she’s been tremendously helpful in that effort. But the NRA had nothing to do with writing the original bill.”

FAMM is a nonprofit organization that advocates for state and federal sentencing reform, specifically the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.

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