When I was at the NRA Annual Meeting last month, I went ahead and sprung for a Life Membership. Personally, I like the NRA. Mostly. I believe that they serve a useful function, and they do some good work – lobbying for gun owner’s rights, education, supporting local gun ranges, etc. What I don’t like is the constant barrage of paper I got from them as a regular member – renewal notices, requests for more money, offers, programs, you name it. Basically begging for bucks at every turn. I don’t know how much the NRA has in their war chest, but it’s gotta be, at a minimum, in the multi-millions of dollars. I would not at all be surprised if they had over a billion bucks, for their various enterprises . . .
According to Wikipedia, as of 2004, the organization had about $200,000,000 in assets. I believe that number to be far greater today. No worries, with the NRA fighting the good fight against the DC, Chicago and San Francisco gun bans, as well as taking on the City of New Orleans then-Mayor Ray “Chocolatetown” Naggin, they are doing something worthwhile with the money.
The NRA has several membership levels. The most familiar: Standard Membership and theLife Membership. Pay $35/year and you get a membership card, a window sticker or two, and a bunch of literature. Did I mention boatloads of mailings offering you all sorts of opportunities to part with more of your hard-earned cash?
Life Members get a little more love – a gilt-edged membership certificate, an embroidered patch, a lapel pin, stickers, a pre-paid life insurance policy, a request to be included in your will (!), and a copy of the organization’s by-laws. They also thoughtfully included a flyer showing several, deluxe options for framing my membership certificate – running from around $80 all the way up to the $300 neighborhood. That’s one niiiiiiiiiice frame job.
Now I’m not naive enough to really think that buying a Life Membership is going to relieve me of the ton of dead trees I got as a regular member. However, as they say, “membership has it’s privileges.” For one thing, my membership never expires. I can forget about having to renew each year, and I can essentially blow off any and all requests/demands for money from Wayne LaPierre & Co. forever. That’s actually a relief . . . several times over the past couple of years, I’ve either let my membership lapse, or worse, renewed it when I didn’t need to. Frustrating.
So it seems Your Humble Correspondent is now on the inside, looking out, as far as membership in the NRA goes. I parted with my coin of the realm because I fundamentally believe that the NRA serves a useful purpose, although I have to admit, I wish they could do it without the constant calls for cash. And of course, I’ll report anything I learn from my newly-minted “insider” status here.