DATE: January 30, 2013
TO: USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President
As you know, Attorney General Pam Bondi is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and has long been a friend of our organizations. As Attorney General, she has a responsibility to follow the Constitution and the law – a responsibility she takes seriously.
Currently there is a dispute between General Bondi's office and those handling a case that is currently in the courts, involving a defendant named Dale Norman. There has been criticism circulating concerning the handling of this case by the Attorney General's office.
However, General Bondi insists that actions by her office have been mischaracterized and used to unfairly criticize her.
Mr. Norman was convicted of violating Florida's open carry law. Mr. Norman sought to appeal his conviction, including challenging the constitutionality of that law. A dispute arose between Mr. Norman and the Attorney General's lawyers over whether Mr. Norman had filed the appeal in the proper court and with the proper documentation.
To be clear, the Attorney General's office insists that they have never questioned Mr. Norman's right to appeal his conviction and that the dispute was entirely over procedure. It now appears that the contested issues have been resolved and that Mr. Norman's appeal will move forward through the courts.
Although Attorney General Bondi is a fearless defender of our Second Amendment rights, she's also the state's top lawyer, with a solemn duty to represent the state in criminal appeals.
When the Attorney General's lawyers require an appellant to follow the proper rules and procedure, regardless of the subject matter of the case, they're simply doing their job – they're doing what they have an obligation to do. As we evaluate the Attorney General's performance, we must never lose sight of her obligations as a lawyer and her role in the criminal justice system.
As legal disputes arise over procedures from time to time, let there be no mistake, Attorney General Pam Bondi is an outstanding advocate and supporter of the Second Amendment. Please do not confuse the two.