According to Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll, the role played by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in the shooting of African-American teen Trayvon Martin should be seen as an example of the outsized influence that the National Rifle Association wields in both state and national politics.
“This was an NRA effort from start to finish,” Kroll told Current TV’s The Young Turks. “It was a classic case study in how the NRA gets these bills passed at the state level. … This is an example of just how big and how sophisticated the NRA’s operation really is.”
Kroll noted that when the law was passed in 2005, the NRA, “provided tens of thousands of dollars to the dozens of lawmakers who pushed the bill through and who voted ‘yes’ on the bill.”
He pointed in particular to NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer as having been instrumental “in both drafting Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and then ramming it through the legislature down there.” Hammer was even standing right next to then-Governor Jeb Bush when the bill was signed into law.
Kroll’s remarks were drawn from an article in Mother Jones in which he laid out in detail the NRA’s spending through its Political Victory Fund, its intense “lobbying blitz” in Florida, and the state legislators who were most active in passing the bill.
“Today, as the Trayvon Martin controversy continues to unfold,” Kroll wrote, “Hammer and the NRA find themselves on the defensive over Stand Your Ground. Under pressure, Gov. Rick Scott has called for a special task force to revisit the 2005 law—though its members will be selected by Republican Attorney general Pam Bondi and four pro-gun Republicans lawmakers. The creation of that task force has been delayed, much to the ire of Democratic lawmakers in Florida.”
The NRA, for its part, celebrated its success in passing Stand Your Ground laws at its national meeting on Saturday and accused the media of sensationalizing its reporting of cases like the Trayvon Martin shooting.
This video is from Current TV’s The Young Turks, April 13, 2012.