A national conversation about gun control is gaining ground after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. But, in the days just after the shooting, Florida legislators voted against even debating gun control. The unwillingness of politicians across the country to address the crisis is rooted in the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association, and in Florida the N.R.A.’s voice is particularly powerful. Marion Hammer is responsible for some of the state’s most extreme gun laws, like concealed carry, which went on to be copied by many other states. Mike Spies recently profiled Hammer for The New Yorker, and he joins the staff writer Evan Osnos to discuss how she became an untouchable figure in Florida, writing laws and giving orders at the highest levels of government. But the high-school students who survived the Parkland shooting, Spies thinks, may be Hammer’s nightmare.
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