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Fine, that's not a Ruger 10/22

Marion Hammer, the infamous Florida lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, is the Lorax of guns. She feels for the injustice against the poor guns whenever anyone suggests we should have fewer murders and suicides, because the gun is good, the gun is freedom, the gun is America. She is, to put it mildly, a real piece of work. Hammer -- who's also on the NRA board, which is one of their fun little "self-dealing" imbroglios that may come to bite them in the ass -- was behind most of Florida's gun policy, including the state's "Stand Your Ground" law. Then last year's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School provoked a backlash, and for the first time limits on ever-expanding gun sales became at least thinkable in Florida, if not yet likely. If you haven't read the New Yorker profile of Hammer, published shortly after Parkland, go correct that gap in your reading.

And now Marion Hammer is sad that some hypothetical little girl will be arrested as a felon and have her precious pink birthday rifle taken from her. As famous Florida man Dave Barry said, I swear I am not making this up.


Hammer is upset about a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban assault weapons in Florida. Before the initiative ever makes it onto the 2020 ballot, it faces a whole bunch of administrative challenges, including review by the Florida Supreme Court. But the idea is clearly worrying the usual crowd of gun humpers, who insist it would surely result in the end of all guns and freedom in Florida forever. That's pretty much the theme Hammer pursued when she testified Friday to state economists, who would have to assess the amendment's potential impact on the state's economy and Florida government.

She warned an assault weapons ban would devastate Florida's economy, since the state has over 700 gun manufacturers, a billion-dollar industry. Worse, she argued, thousands and thousands of ordinary, law-abiding Floridians would become felons, hunted down by law-enforcement, if they didn't bow down to the tyrannical limits on freedom in the amendment. Won't somebody please think of the children? And the old folks?

Try telling a 68-year-old retiree that his 20-gauge Remington Model 1100 is an assault weapon, and that it is illegal to possess it unless he registers it with the government. He'll probably tell you you're out of your mind [...] How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?

If the amendment passes, all these folks would become "instant felons," Hammer insisted, and the cops would surely start busting down doors and sending people to prison for having guns that are perfectly legal now. Weep, WEEP for the poor little girl and her pink birthday rifle. (Yes, pink .22 rifles are a real thing.)

We have to say, it's a pretty interesting choice of example, considering that on January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer used her Christmas gift -- a Ruger 10/22 rifle equipped with a scope -- to open fire on the elementary school across the street from her home. She wounded eight kids and a cop who arrived on the scene, and killed the school's principal and a janitor who were trying to get children inside. The shooting was the inspiration for the Boomtown Rats' song "I Don't Like Mondays." That's what Spencer told a reporter when she was asked why she'd done it. (We learned about that connection from The West Wing.)

The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays (HQ Audio) www.youtube.com

Then again, Spencer's rifle wasn't pink, so maybe that -- and the Monday thing -- was what drove her to a murderous rage. Clearly, a pink .22 would be a perfectly appropriate birthday gift for a 10-year-old girl, especially on a weekend.

Also, here's a hell of a surprise: Neither of the guns Hammer mentioned in her nightmare scenario would necessarily be banned by the proposed amendment, which would prohibit the sale of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns "capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition feeding device." It would also ban the sale of those high-capacity magazines.

As Politifact notes, that "capable of" needs to be interpreted by the state Supreme Court. If it means guns that come from the factory with a 10-round capacity, no problem, lots wouldn't be affected. The Ruger rifle has an internal 10-round magazine; the Remington shotgun four or eight, depending on model.

And even if the amendment included such weapons, existing ones could still be registered. That's it.

The specter of cops going around seizing little girls' precious pink birthday guns is pretty damned unlikely, considering this is Florida we're talking about. But it's a good line to scare gun humpers, and that's Marion Hammer's only true purpose in life, so that's all good and well and normal.

[Tampa Bay Times / Ballotpedia / Daily Beast / Politifact / Tampa Bay Times]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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