courtesy kruger-us-targets.com

On Saturday night I was a guest of TTAG and Dan Zimmerman at a local event. His wife, my wife and other like-minded folk attended a Friends of the NRA dinner where hundreds of gun nuts get together and place bids on donated items. One of my clients, Mid America Arms, was in attendance offering their FFL services to make sure winners of firearms passed the appropriate background checks before taking possession of their rifles, pistols and shotguns . . .

This event happens twice a year and all the money is used to support local shooting sports programs. The National Rifle Association mothership gets very little, if any, and none goes to the political side of the operation. It was a big crowd of people from all walks of life, essentially tossing money around to help promote and protect a healthy gun culture.

Could Moms Demand Action assemble such an event? Twice a year, every year?

In late April, the NRA will have its national convention in Indianapolis. Attendance is always enormous. In Houston, Texas, a record 77,000 people came over three days. Could the Mayors Against Illegal Guns get 77,000 people to come to a convention over three days? How about the Brady Campaign?

Could all the anti-gun groups across the country, all the fascist politicians, all the leftist media types – could they get 77,000 people to come together in one spot to rally to the anti-gun cause?

In 2012, the President was unable to fill a 70,000 seat stadium at the Democrat National Convention. His big moment was then moved to a 20,000-seat venue, and I am not sure this was filled.

What irks me to no end is how the NRA is slandered by the media as if it’s a small, fringe cabal propped up by gun and ammo manufacturers. In the sense that the bit companies do support them – Ruger and Midway certainly gave a pile of money to the NRA, just to name two – it’s only because millions of us buy the guns and use ammo.

The NRA is an enormous organization. Almost five million members. Over 40% of households own a firearm. Is there an organization in America that’s more “grassroots” than the NRA? Bear that in mind next time some jackass complains about the “gun lobby.”

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33 Responses to You Wish Your “Grassroots” Organization Was as Big…

  1. The Dems won’t say it out loud, but this is why anti-gun legislation got nowhere in Washington after Sandy Hook. It’s why anti-gun liberals in Colorado were ousted despite being propped up by Bloomberg’s millions. This is why the Idaho campus carry bill passed despite unanimous opposition from the stuffed shirts at the universities.

    We vote, we contribute to election campaigns, we send letters and we light up switchboards in legislative offices.

    The media doesn’t get it, but I’m pretty sure the politicians do.

  2. Don’t forget the other Second Amendment groups out there, either. The National Association for Gun Rights has almost as many members (over 3,000,000) as the NRA, like I checked, and Gun Owners of America easily has more active members (over 300,000 at last count) than every single gun control advocacy group combined.

    “Grass roots” for us literally means millions upon millions of people, many of whom are not and probably haven’t ever even been members of any civil rights groups. Many of whom do not donate very much, if anything at all, but managed to give the NRA over $1 billion between 2005 and 2011 alone. These groups then in-turn spend the vast majority of that money promoting safety and conservation education, as well as educating the public about their right to keep AND bear arms — just exactly as their membership directs them to.

    For the sexist, racist, anti-rights, anti-Humanist civilian disarmament industrial complex, it means perhaps a hundred thousand. Many of them are in fact wealthy, ivory tower elitists who want a completely different set of rules for themselves vs. the rest of society. Many of whom pool their resources to out-spent the rest of us sometimes by more than 6-to-1, as was evidenced by the recent (and more than justified) recalls of state legislators in Colorado. They are the hyper-partisan, hyper-militant, extreme fringe cabal propped up by multimillionaires and multibillionaires from across the globe.

    • Don’t forget the Second Amendment Foundation, which has over 650,000 members according to wikipedia. They spearheaded McDonald v. Chicago.

    • I’ve noticed that this is one tactic of the left: If you have some fault, falsely accuse your enemy of that fault.

      Since all of their anti-gun organizations are Astroturf, they accuse their pro-gun enemies of being Astroturf. This tactic works on the low-information voters who compose the majority of their supporters.

    • I had never even heard of the National Association for Gun Rights, until reading your post. I’ve checked their website, particularly their FAQ section. Founded in 2001, they claim to be the fastest growing gun rights group out there. Perhaps. The “three million” figure, however, refers to “members and supporters”; with no definition of what constitutes a “supporter” relative to a member. You said three million members, which is different from members and undefined supporters. Even so, the NRA, I understand, is closer to about five million members.

      Supporters can mean anything: people on a mailing list, people who visit the website, people who’ve requested information, people who’ve clicked on an ad, people who’ve “liked” something on FaceBook, etc. It’s a virtually infinitely elastic term one can exploit to bolster credibility. It’s like saying the stimulus created or saved X number of jobs. It means whatever one wants it to mean. In the same answer to the membership question, NAGR invites you to become a member or to sign up for email alerts. I bet those email alert recipients are then counted as supporters.

      To me, it’s sneaky-to-dishonest for them to lump in so-called supporters with dues-paying members. In your case, since the rest of your post seems about on target, I’m concluding it’s an honest mistake on your part to take their three million figure at face value, and another honest mistake to leave out the “…and supporters” part altogether.

      • Ditto. I keep up and have never heard of any “National Association for Gun Rights”. GAO is generally regarded as 2nd largest after NRA as far as I’ve ever read.

        Legitimate org? Got to wonder from their tactics. Sounds like AARP to me.

    • Yeah, it’s typical the way the media ignores the true grass-roots pro-gun organizations, yet they give front page coverage to fringe greenie groups like the Sierra Club, Earth First, and others – none of which have memberships of even 50,000 people. The real key to media coverage of gun rights is the fact that 98% of the media is from the chattering classes, not from bedrock America.

  3. and ask if anyone is a fully paid LIFE member of these anti-gun groups, often to the tune of $1,000. that is a lot of fringe if thats the case

    good meeting you at the dinner and breaking bread with you Tim

  4. I’m a life member of the NRA . I also support a couple of other pro-gun orgs as well. This is one fire gun owners can’t have (too many irons) in ! >Jeff

  5. Or your local clubs that do community cleanup’s at areas frequented by shooters. Lots of good, solid people in this country that make up the sport.

    • You guys are all correct. The big Congressional battles and Supreme Court showdowns are dramatic big plays, to be sure, and do get well deserved cheers. However, it’s the day-to-day work of a whole lot of regular everyday people in their local communities who methodically move the chains. There’s much to be proud of in the efforts at all levels of the firearms freedom civil rights movement, and I’m grateful to be a part of it with all of you.

  6. I am an NRA member and I vote. I am proud to be held as low company by the anti-gun Stalinists out there, the ones who seethe at how I just don’t know what is best for me; how things would be so much better if we would just give up, for the children of course.
    I do hope to make it to one of those events someday.

  7. So, theses pro-2A organizations (NRA in particular) do a pretty good job overall of keeping the anti’s at bay with a “measly” 5M members (compared to total gun owners of around 80-90M)….just imagine what could be accomplished if 1/2 of those 90M gun-owners were members of the NRA (or other 2A organization)….even if only 1/4 were…we’d all be living in a very different 2A supporting county……think about it….and then call your friend, neighbor, cousin who isn’t a member, and buy them a membership for their birthday or Christmas.

    Last year, I gave out 5 gift memberships to the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation to families and friends as part of their Christmas gifts (and in lieu of some other crappy stocking stuffer they’re just going to throw away anyway.) If we all did that….these organizations would swell in ranks: 5M NRA members giving out 5 gift memberships annually……..think about it…..

    • Damn. I am gonna have to REALLY think about that. I bought my son a life membership 10-12 years ago, but I know a lot of people…

  8. So, if 10% of the NRA Houston attendees showed up at Cliven Bundys ranch, the 200 BLM brownshirt goons would find themselves overwhelmed by 7700 armed patriots. Encircle, overwhelm.

    Just a thought.

  9. Last year, I gave out 5 gift memberships to the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation to families and friends as part of their Christmas gifts (and in lieu of some other crappy stocking stuffer they’re just going to throw away anyway.)

    Now that’s a good idea. I could see that as a full page ad in all the NRA mags during Oct/Nov with pictures of people opening Christmas presents with really bad gifts and reminding the gift givers of an alternate solution.

  10. Your points about the other great organizations formed to fill in the (ahem) gaps left by the NRA are absolutely correct. That said, the low information voter (and the low information reporter) all think “NRA” when you say “Gun Lobby.”

  11. Funny, I’m an NRA member and all I receive from them (the NRA) is mailings about renewing my membership (constantly) but nothing about a function in my hometown promoting their organization!

    • So contact your State NRA (listed in the magazine you receive), and start your own Friends of the NRA chapter in your very own hometown! That way you won’t have to worry about “no one from the NRA doing anything here” – take charge! Then get together with some of your friends and set up your own NRA-affiliated shooting range!

      That’s what we did here.

      • Idaho Pete, it was in my hometown, why should I have to create another?

        neiowa, I guess my point was, if they can send me countless renewal notices and insurance offers, why not send me an invitation to promote one of their sponsored events in my hometown?

        Kind of like the Bianchi Cup, an NRA sponsored event that has been held in the same place (Columbia MO) for over thirty years. But except for competitors and NRA members (officials) most folks in MO don’t even know it exist. I went on the thirtieth anniversary and it was depressing how few spectators there were. In fact I talked to Michael Bane and NRA officials about the lack of promotion in the St. Louis area and they said they could probably do a better job, but it never happened. We have a Cabela’s, Bass Pro, and countless LGS in the area, and not one had posters advertising the event. And we wonder why their ranks don’t grow passed OFWG’s like myself!

  12. MR McNabb,

    Dear sir,I hope you enjoyed your evening hanging out with a bunch of “GUN NUTS” as you like to label gun owning people.
    The nicest people I have ever met are folks at the gun range or the gun club that I am a member or in a hunting camp.
    It is a term that law-abiding gun-owners are growing weary of but expect it from the ignorant press. I have carried guns and hunted since I was Eight yrs. old and am now 69. I have never witnessed the misuse of a gun in all those years.I am proud to live in a free country but find those that want to take my freedoms away un-american. Where do you fit in?

    • Jerald H. Lorenz – I meant no offense. I am in fact a gun nut. I find it amusing to embrace the name the media has bestowed upon us, robbing it of its power.

  13. The NRA isn’t a gun lobby. It’s an anti-fascist lobby, or even a civil rights lobby. Constitutional rights lobby has a good ring to it. The anti-gun lobby is the reason the NRA exists.

    We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. ~ George Orwell

    Amen, brother.

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