According to The Hill, the National Rifle Association’s NRATV media operation has laid off a number of employees due to budget issues. In a twitter statement by NRATV’s producer, Cameron Gray ;
This isn’t exactly shocking, since it has been widely reported that the NRA has collected less cash in the last year. The NRA’s revenue fell by $55 million from 2016 to 2017, leaving the organization with an $18 million deficit. For a full review of their past tax filings, click here.
The NRA’s tax records confirm the drop in member dues by roughly $36 million between 2016 and 2017.
There are no doubt a variety of reasons for the NRA’s lower take.
Following the Parkland shooting, the NRA backed the President’s proposed bump stock ban and then invited him to speak at their 2018 Annual Meeting in Dallas this past May. But while Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that banned bump fire stocks in Florida, he was likely disinvited because that bill also barred anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a long gun. That move angered a number of gun owners.
Secondly, I believe that the NRA is like every major army. It is ready and equipped to fight the last war, not the coming one.
The NRA is facing a number of battles in various states, all while it readies itself for a push by Democrats for a repeat of the 1994 Clinton “assault weapons” ban and, at the same time, brushes off state-level organizations. Much of the membership is angry at some the moves NRA has made such as their their endorsement of Casey Cagle for Georgia Governor during the primary, Marion Hammer’s public statement that bump stocks should be outlawed and her attacks on some members as “the enemy within.”
Then there are political shifts in the country, as well as complacency on the part of gun owners about further gun control laws following the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016. There’s also a perceived decline in influence of the NRA that has some in the GOP openly defying the organization in some cases. That would have been considered unthinkable in the past.
On the Federal level, in the House or Representatives, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be the Minority Leader for the Republicans in the next Congress. He’s rated “D” by GOA and “D-” by immigration watchdog Numbers USA. You get an idea where things may be heading there.
The Democrats obviously don’t care to listen to the NRA at all while some Republicans may have learned from Gov. Scott and President Trump not to fear a bad rating from the NRA.
The NRA’s threats to withhold support for or oppose elected officials who defy them are starting to carry less weight. And some gun owners are looking at more aggressive gun rights organizations like Gun Owners of America or state level groups like Florida Carry the and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
Gun owners only have so much money to donate to the cause and it appears that a growing number of them are deciding to donate to other groups or are withholding their funds altogether. In the end, unless the NRA addresses a number of fundamental issues, I don’t see this getting any better any time soon.