The men of the National Rifle Association, or NRA, have been the most dominant faces in the gun control debate after last December’s Sandy Hook massacre. However, an elite group of women is among the NRA's top brass, and they have equally strong views on bills that they say have the potential to infringe the Second Amendment. And they have also spent years lobbying in different parts of the nation for the cause, just like the men have.
Like their male counterparts, the NRA's female top guns move in high circles and speak at big-name events like the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, that influences conservative leadership and thinking. And the women of the NRA are known for talking as tough as the guys. They have made statements in recent years many may find controversial or even radical.
Below are some of those NRA women and what they have said:
Marion Hammer, NRA Board Member, Former NRA President
Hammer was the first the female president of the NRA, serving from 1995 to 1998. She still lobbies for the group and remains on its board of directors. For more than three decades, she has lobbied for the NRA in Florida for a bill to allow guns on college and university campuses and prevent health care providers from questioning patients about firearms.
“The Obama administration’s gun ban agenda and universal background check system are unconstitutional regulatory schemes to gut the Second Amendment. These proposals amount to universal gun registration and gun owner licensing. This agenda focuses on peaceable citizens. Instead of stopping crime and eliminating criminal conduct, they are creating more criminals -- they are targeting you.” she said in January to the Gainesville Sun.
“No. Second Amendment rights are the means with which the people retain sovereignty. Give up your power to remain free, and you are no longer free. Just because a government was 'democratically' elected does not mean it is a righteous government or that the electorate got the government they thought they were electing,” she said in response to the Florida Current when asked if the people can remain sovereign if a democratically elected government places stricter regulations on gun ownership.
Sandra Froman, Current NRA Board Member, Former NRA President
An attorney, Froman was elected president of the NRA in 2005 and has served on the board of directors since 1992. An unsuccessful burglary incident in 1981 led her to become a gun rights activist. Over the years, some of her most controversial statements have been geared toward the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, the Humane Society of the United States and criminals themselves.
“Everyone is safer when criminals don’t know who is armed. I’m this five-foot-two middle-age lady, but they don’t know I’ll shoot their guts out,” she said in a 2006 interview with her alma mater's Stanford magazine.
“I think a lot of hunters don’t really realize what a serious threat the Humane Society of the United States is to our hunting rights and our shooting rights as well,” she said in a 2010 interview with NRA News regarding Arizona’s Prop 109, which would have given the legislature “exclusive authority” to enact laws concerning wildlife issues.
“And now the United Nations is engaged in a global gun-ban scheme. It is well-organized and well-funded by eccentric anti-gun billionaires. The goal of this movement is to get every nation to sign a treaty banning the private ownership of firearms worldwide and give the U.N. troops authority to enforce the treaty. Under the administration of President George W. Bush and the leadership of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, the U.S. opposes this plan. But a future anti-gun president and a different Senate might have another agenda and might all too willingly participate. The results could be disastrous for the Constitution, our freedom and American sovereignty,” she said in a 2006 criticism of the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates global trade in conventional weapons.
Maria Heil, NRA Board Member
Heil has been an NRA member for more than 20 years and a Second Amendment activist since joining the Second Amendment Sisters, an advocacy group, in 2000.
“I choose to own a gun, because I am a good mother,” she said at an NRA’s Women on Target seminar in 2000, a week after the Million Mom March for gun control.
“Parents -- remember, those people are responsible for the upbringing of their children -- should see to it that children are taught about firearms by a program of their choosing not the anti-gun-biased public education system. Furthermore, showing children pictures of what a 9mm round actually does to the human flesh at point blank is not the same as showing the mangled bodies of drunk drivers or the lungs of smokers. Drinking and smoking are choices people make for themselves. Being a victim of a criminal is something that is done to you,” she said in a 2002 gun education op-ed for WND.
“More women really need to really realize that what they have to do is get involved, be educated and find out what they need to do to be able to defend themselves. And a firearm -- Sam Colt said it best – it’s the great equalizer. Talk about equal rights. If you think about it, anti-gun movement, the people who want to take guns away from everybody, boy, you’re talking about the real war on women, because there’s no equalizer then. That makes us dependent on somebody else,” she said to NRA News last July during CPAC Chicago when asked why more women should participate in Second Amendment and other gun rights issues.
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...