When your name is an answer—or question—on "Jeopardy!" you know you’ve made it into the American lexicon. That happened to Marion P. Hammer in the mid-1990s after she became the National Rifle Association’s first woman president. And while many across the country learned her name for the first time on the iconic game show, NRA members have long known her as one of the Second Amendment's staunchest defenders.
Although she announced her retirement as a state lobbyist for the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) in 2022 after 44 years of advocacy—and decades of battling onerous anti-gun legislation in her home state of Florida and beyond—the effects of her tireless efforts on behalf of law-abiding American citizens will be felt forever. In fact, if your state has enjoyed Right to Carry prior to the 2022 SCOTUS Bruen decision, you can thank Marion P. Hammer for being the driving force in successfully knocking over that first domino in Florida in 1987. It wasn’t long before dozens of other states looked upon her lobbying efforts as a model for Right to Carry. Today, all 50 states enjoy some form of right-to-carry status.
Marion Hammer’s list of accomplishments—Right-to-Carry, Castle Doctrine and other life-saving, pro-hunting and pro-Second Amendment laws before and after her 1995-1998 tenure as NRA President—is extensive. By creating NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program, tens of millions of young American schoolchildren became educated on what to do if they come across a firearm. She was executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, an organization she founded in 1975; has been inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame; and even has an annual NRA award presented in her honor, The Marion P. Hammer Woman of Distinction Award. In 2018 she was presented with the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum Lifetime Achievement Award.
We could go on, but we encourage you to watch this video created to tell the story of this icon of freedom, Marion P. Hammer. Go here to see a list of previous honorees of the Marion P. Hammer Woman of Distinction Award, and learn how to nominate a woman you consider worthy.