The National Rifle Association isn't shy about hating on the legislation that came out of Florida after the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting that killed 17 people.
The NRA's Marion Hammer called the limited measures "political eyewash" that will only "punish law-abiding gun owners." In a subsequent e-mail blast, Hammer called out Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran for his role in pushing the bill. In case the message wasn't clear, the group even sued Florida. And Hammer continues to threaten those Republicans who did vote for the bill with a hard-hitting op-ed titled "It's time to name GOP betrayers who voted for Florida gun control."
But considering what the NRA was facing immediately after the shooting, it could have been worse. What lawmakers passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law included modest gun control measures. It imposed a new three-day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms; raised the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and banned bump stocks.
Oh, and it also approved $400 million for mental health and security programs that could introduce thousands of guns in Florida schools — not a bad thing for gun manufacturers.
For now, however, the NRA is quite convincing in portraying the legislation as a disaster, and that's playing well to their members and bolsters an emerging narrative that Scott bucked the gun group — which could help him in a general election battle against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson , and, in turn, protects the NRA if Scott wins and keeps the Senate safe for Republicans. Weird how that works out, isn't it?
What's further confounding about the NRA's "bad luck" in Florida is the group's rousing success in other states since the Parkland shooting.
According to Newsweek, a number of states have responded to the shooting with bills and laws that expand gun rights.
— In Iowa, lawmakers passed a resolution that moves toward adding an amendment to the state constitution affirming the right to bear arms and raising the burden of proof for any restriction on that right. The NRA backs this.
— West Virginia's governor signed into law a bill that prohibits some employers from banning firearms on their premises.
— Wyoming and Idaho became the latest states to pass "stand your ground" measures (which originated in Florida and gained notoriety in the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin).
— In Colorado, the Senate passed a bill that would repeal the state's ban on large capacity ammunition magazines that passed after that state's 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora movie theater. (The bill comes up next week in the Colorado House). Should we go ahead and pencil in a repeal of Florida's legislation for, say, the 2023 session?
— Nebraska's governor signed a bill into law that exempts firearm records from public records requests.
So don't cry for the NRA just yet. The group has done quite well across the U.S. since the Parkland massacre. And it hasn't fared that poorly in Florida, either.