NRA’s Marion Hammer sues 5 men, claims she was target of ‘hate and vitriol’
The federal lawsuit describes the 79-year-old grandmother as a nationally renowned civil rights advocate” and seeks $2 million in damages.
Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s influential Tallahassee lobbyist, filed federal and state lawsuits Friday seeking more than $2 million in damages from five men she says have targeted her over her Second Amendment advocacy following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Describing Hammer as “a 79-year-old grandmother and nationally renowned civil rights advocate,” the federal lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in Tallahassee contends four men have made her the focal point of “hate and vitriol” through phone calls, emails and other communications.
The federal lawsuit said the conduct of the defendants — Lawrence “Lol” Sorensen of California, Christopher Risica of Connecticut and Howard Weiss, and Patrick Sullivan, whose places of residence are unknown — has caused emotional distress, humiliation, shame, and embarrassment and raises concerns the attacks “can quickly escalate into actual violence.”
“There is a marked difference between speech and harassment, and there are clearly delineated bounds of human decency that no person can cross by using fear, intimidation, and threats of violence to lash out at and try to silence those with whom they disagree,” the 31-page federal lawsuit said.
“The defendants have transcended mere criticism and employed threats, harassment, and personal abuse to try to humiliate and intimidate Hammer in a manner that is utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” the lawsuit added.
The second lawsuit was filed later in the day in Leon County circuit court against Brian Fitzgerald, who is identified as a 66-year-old resident of Miami-Dade County. Each lawsuit seeks “in excess” of $1 million in damages.
The NRA has come under heavy criticism from gun-control advocates since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and faculty members dead. The Second Amendment group also filed a federal lawsuit against the state in March, hours after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a school-safety measure that included new age-related gun restrictions.