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“In the wake of the shooting of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, the National Rifle Association [NRA] quickly began combating calls for stricter gun laws by working to convince Americans that gun control measures would have supposedly disastrous effects.” Remove the word “supposedly” from that sentence and I’m good with Kira Lerner’s lead to her story NRA’s Revenue Has Skyrocketed Since The Sandy Hook Massacre. I’m also good with the additional revenue: a $100 million jump in annual income. Given that it’s all voluntary contributions, what’s Lerner’s beef? I bet you can guess. First, her summary of the org’s IRS Form 990 . . .

According to recently released financial documents, the NRA grossed almost $348 million in revenue in 2013, up close to $92 million from the group’s 2012 revenue of $256 million. In the first year following one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, the organization’s contributions and grants increased by $10 million and program service revenue shot up by $68 million from the year prior.

While raking in an additional $91 million, the group only increased its spending on lobbying by $10 million. The organization also paid its public relations agency $14.5 million as they dealt with reputational damage control following Newtown.

In the first 18 days after the shooting, the NRA gained more than 100,000 new members. Firearms sales also soared in the weeks after the shooting. In the first year, the manufacturer of the firearm used by Adam Lanza in Newtown said its sales rose as much as 36 percent.

Win! Well, for gun rights. For proponents of civilian disarmament, not so much.

The NRA has a history of responding to mass shootings, including the Sandy Hook massacre, by offering condolences to the victims but continuing to push to make it easier for people to get access to guns. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference just a week after the shooting that the group would not move on its staunch opposition to gun control legislation. Instead, LaPierre used the Newtown shooting to push for more guns in schools. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said.

The NRA has also responded to mass shootings by pushing for some of its most extreme legislation. The first federal legislation to pass post-Sandy Hook that addressed firearms actually weakened gun safety and made it easier for people to acquire guns. The six provisions which passed Congress in a rider limited enforcement actions the government could take against dealers that violated the law, expanded the class of protected guns and shielded gun dealers whose guns are lost or stolen. A representative for the NRA was not immediately available for comment.

So WTH, I’ll comment. While some gun rights advocates don’t think the NRA has gone far enough in its legislative agenda — failing to push for the repeal of Bush the Elder’s disastrous Gun Free School Zones Act, for example — the gun rights group has worked hard to extend and defend Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The free market has rewarded them. There’s nothing wrong with that, and a whole lot right. That is all.

[h/t Jeff the Griz]

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  1. So, all that really means is that 3 million people who didn’t pay annual dues the previous year, decided to pay those dues in 2013. I’m guessing that’s a mix of new members and current members who had let their dues lapse.

    Thanks, Obama!

  2. So actual “grass roots” $100 million is bad.

    One person spending $50 million is good.

    She forgot to include other things the NRA does, like actual safety training, providing most of the law enforcement training in the country….

    Oops, not their agenda…

  3. Anyone know why they had a “sale” on life memberships a few years ago? It was like 2/3’s off, and I snapped one up since my local club requires national membership. Seemed weird to have such a steep discount.

    • Not sure ‘why’, but it’s not unique. I took advantage of such an offer 9-10yrs ago. They mailed me a special endowment upgrade a a few yrs later and I took them up on that too. Probably like car dealerships ‘President’s day sale’- an excuse to get more people to buy.

      • Got my life membership in the early 90’s when they had the national convention in Seattle.
        Since I no longer have to re-up my membership every year, I can donate to 2A foundation, NAGR, NRA/ILA and others.

  4. Ok, so the NRA made $90 million more, but only spent about $25 million more, Right? Is it bad that they were saving money away for the next couple years that were going to be big election years? They aren’t stupid, even in 2013 it was obvious that 2014-16 were going to be pivotal in the gun rights arena.

  5. I am still waiting for one of these loudmouths to suggest a single thing which would have prevented Sandy Hook. Not one. Because there is only one, and they would never suggest it. Arm teachers.

  6. I’ve got to say that I am so dam tired of hearing all this nonsense gun control , suing gun manufacturers and so on. It’s all bullshit I know what it is to lose a child you don’t take that and use it to stomp all over the rest of the country’s constitutional rights. I wish they would stop disonnering those who lost thier lives because the State Of Connecticut dropped the ball on mental health. If you want to justify thier debts then fix the mental Helth issues in New Haven County only 60 beds and very few resources exist. Just saying.

  7. Sounds like very wise and prudent use of their windfall.

    Only spend enough to get the job done of defeating the gun-grabber bill and sock away the rest for future battles that you know are going to appear.

    Leftists have no concept of fiscal responsibility.

  8. So NRA made an extra 100 million and there’s still an assault weapons ban in CA, NY, CT… what did they spend the money on? More fundraisers?

    • Those battles were lost at the State Level. Look at the makeup of the Legislatures in the states you listed not to mention the Governors.

      • The legislators are one thing, but at least here in CA, we’ve had our own organizations bringing various laws to court and making headway. Even here, the courts are not totally useless, but CA is the front line in national gun legislation and for the reason alone NRA should have a head office here. But they don’t, because its easier (and less expensive) for them to preach to the choir.

  9. As an NRA member, I would have liked to have seen more than $10M of the increased $91M spent on lobbying. Also, I don’t think the $14.5M PR campaign to resurrect the NRA’s reputation was money well spent. It didn’t improve their standing with the anti-gunners (which can’t be done) and it didn’t improve their reputation with their own members IMHO. So what did they get for it? They should spend a lot more PR money on changing middle-of-the-road voter perceptions about keeping and bearing arms, but the campaign shouldn’t even have the NRA’s name on it.

    I also think it interesting that the NRA continues to be a lightning rod for the anti-gunners’ ire, when IMHO, they are no longer the premier organization getting the job done. The 2A Foundation and state groups are gaining more ground for us than the NRA.The NRA has also done a poor job at cooperating with other pro-gun groups. If they see other gun groups as competition instead of allies, which means they just don’t get it.

    I don’t think they should be lauded for their shooting and safety programs. First, they don’t really put many of them on themselves. They are put on by private training companies who get to put the NRA brand on them and in that sense, the training is a commercial enterprise that is self-funded. All the NRA contributes is the brand name. Second, I don’t think their courses are as good as non-NRA courses of similar titles. My local range is starting to drop NRA courses in favor of other brand names, like Sig Sauer Academy, and locally produced courses.

    Finally, I hate the slogan, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Not true. Bad guys get stopped by lots of things: locked doors, by other bad guys, by cops (who may or may not be “good guys,” but I consider in the group the slogan is talking about.), etc.

    • A lot of the state groups are also affiliate members of the NRA. For example the Unified Sportsman of Florida is a state affiliate. Plus, many people belong to more than one organization. It doesn’t help our cause by running down one of our own organizations. Bloomer and his ilk are paying people to do that. You sound more like a Bloomer guy. An NRA member knows that the dues do not go to the NRA-ILA. Those are separate donations.

      • The Bloomer comment is out of line. It’s no more called for than me calling you a Nazi, which I would not do. As I said, I’m a member and I just want the NRA to be the best organization it can be. Also the NRA vs. ILA is a shell game. They are all under the same leadership at the top.

        We have a tremendous state org, the VCDL. They get a lot done. Despite being in the same state as the NRA HQ, the big guys hardly give the VCDL the time of day.

        • You just did hoss. I said you sound like a Bloomer guy, I didn’t say you were one. The NRA-ILA is not a shell game. The financial arrangements are different by law due to the lobby status of the ILA. NRA membership dues do NOT go to fund the ILA.

        • Blue Bronco is correct. While under the same “umbrella” law, dues money CANNOT go toward the NRA-ILA effort or they both risk losing their 501c whatever status..dues money goes toward all there other programs

        • Did you read my post? I said nothing about dues, you guys did. I never insinuated anything financial that was not taken from the original post of this thread. When I said it’s a shell game, I meant operationally. The funding may be separate, but they think and act as one entity. If you’re talking money, argue with the OP.

        • I pointed out the state affiliates are often NRA affiliates, and the fact that many of us are in more than one organization. I also pointed out that the NRA and NRA-ILA has different revenue streams by law due to the lobby function. He should know that if he knows enough to go to such in depth criticism. He responded by saying that the NRA-ILA was just a shell game of the NRA.

    • Correction, I mean to say …but I don’t consider LEOs in the group the slogan is talking about.

      P.S. I also think the slogan leaves the conceptual door open for vigilantism, which I don’t think is the message we want to send. Defensive carry people should be defensive. Unlike cops, we should not imply that we are going to move toward the danger.

      • JohnF,

        It depends on how you look at things. A violent attacker who is attacking someone else could very well be attacking me or my family next time if they escape. For that reason I have a vested interest in stopping a violent attacker even if I am not the victim. Then there is the whole “Golden Rule” aspect to this as well … if an attacker was attacking one of my children who cannot yet carry in public, I sure wish someone would help them.

        Having said all that, I feel obliged to remind everyone that we have to be 1000% certain that an “attacker” is criminally attacking someone and not actually a victim who is lawfully defending themselves. Then, and only then, is it legally justifiable to intervene and stop the imminent death or great bodily injury of an innocent victim. Otherwise, your best assistance is to try and stop an attack without force and/or call police.

  10. It takes donations to the NRA-ILA to fight the battles in various states. Annual dues are good and shows strength in membership, but those are separate and the lobbying arm is the NRA-ILA which was set up in 1975 to battle the gun ban lobby of Hand Gun Inc now known as the Brady Campaign or the Brady Bunch as I call them.

  11. 8~0% program expense ratio, <10% admin ratio, and <15% FR ratio (as % of total functional expenses) are all very good. Many prominent non profit organizations are far less efficient with donor dollars.

  12. All that money and they still won’t get involved in New Jersey. I renewed my membership last month, but it pains me that NJ NRA members don’t get much in return. They could learn a thing or two from the relatively small SAF.

  13. And hopefully they keep making more! I joined at the end of 2014 despite not being a big fan of their junk mail because they at least stand up for my rights. I might not Plus it’s given me the benefit of being able to troll anti NRA people that I know who almost have a heart attack when they find out I’m a member … yeah take your stereotypes and shove it.

  14. NRA is catching flak from thinkprogress because the NRA is over the target.

    If the POTG are truly concerned about their personal freedoms I recommend two reads:

    1. Wikipedia – given that it is subject to edit by unvetted sources, its a good place to look for left/progressive propagandizing posing as fact, that is in itself an unconscious reflects n of underlying motives, players, and intentions.

    Tl;dr -Thinkpgrogress is run bt the Center for American Progress (CAP). If that name and the inference is not familiar to you, then read on:

    2. DiscovertheNetworks: to see where CAP fits in.

    WHEN YOU ARE DONE, then come back here and join thr circular firing squad about caliber. Which is about as useful as whinging and b1tching about the NRA.

    If yiu truly want to make a difference, there, then get involved, volunteer, join the state affilliate, get to know people, and give money. It doesn’t take much to find out whats working and whats not, and be part of the solution.

    Otherwise, you are so ignorant, as to be a dupe of he left, and might even be a troll, posting here.
    The NRA is not perfect, by any means. But to fix it, you need to get involved, not kvetch like a little b1tch as some anonymous nitwit in a blog forum. Go get involved at SAF, or one of the many other state groups.

  15. PS: another personal pet peeve, not a criticism of TTAG, but a reminder to the POTG about how things would k on the innertubz, for your own personal decision makijg.

    I will not click on links to known gun-grabbing propagandists and left/progressive sites, out of principle,
    EXCEPT to fight thru the censored FakeBook “likes”, “moderated” reader comments like the NYT, or “curated” forums elsewhere, AND put a fact based rebuttal with a link back to TTAG or other 2A source, in order to attract eyeballs or the potentially independent reader who is seeking valid gun truth elsewhere, and here is why:

    Its al about the page views. Every click is money in the bank for the enemy. Read “Trust Me, I’m Lying” to understand how the propaganda is created, and “traded up the chain” to the Journolistas at WAPO, NYT, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, who all need meat to feed the dogs, for revenue, if not to serve their own progressive agendas, and WHO rely more and more on the revenue from the self-reinforcing network of lies, masked as news.


    Yes, ENEMY is not too strong a word, when you understand the ways, means, and motives already proven by this Admin, in the lies and abuse of power in a numer of anti-freedom actions, F&F, IRS suppression of conservative voting rights groups, DOJ Operation Checkpoint, and the suppression of a free press, as seen in DOJ investigation of the AP, Fox’s Rosin, and NYTs James Risen, and finally, the Executive Action by 3 to 2 vote by unelected commissioners to the FCC to turn the internet into what Democrats did to healthcare, top down govt control of free speech.

    49% are happy to go along, the clueless LIVs, and another significant percentage of the 51knowing, but need the money 51%.

    Read the book. It will shock and maybe even scare you, when you understand the implications.

    Or read Stonewalled, by Sharyl Atkisson, who refers to some of the same, in various ways, from her perspective as investigative reporter for CBS.

  16. Works for me. I read this yesterday on Yahoo. The left-wing bloomt##ds will never learn. +1 Ralph…

  17. You can turn the tables on gun control groups by looking up their IRS Form 990’s. I use:

    You can also request Form 990’s from the IRS directly, but this takes time because it is a snail mail process. Not online.

  18. As I have known since the 1980s, NRA is “all about that cash, ’bout dat cash, ’bout that cash, oh yea, all about that cash, ’bout dat cash, ’bout dat cash, oh yea” and they always have been. What a pack of lying f**ks.

      • Wow, she is on NRA’s payroll, too?!?! They really are diverse. What is her yearly salary from all that cash raked in from the gullible?

    • @2hotel9 — CORRECTION: ** As you haven’t ever known at all, the gun control lobby is “all about creatin’ them victims, ’bout creatin’ dem victims, ’bout creatin’ them victims; oh yeah, about creatin’ them victims, ’bout creatin’ dem victims, ’bout creatin’ dem victims, oh yeah” and they always have. What a pack of f***ing racists.

      FIXED that for you, plebe.

      • Keep sending them your money, they got 1st quarter bonuses to hand out to their “executives”, don’t ya know.

  19. A blog called “think progress.”

    Aren’t they basically saying “you’ll have to pretend while you read this”?

  20. The anti-rights lobby, as they are much more accurately known, claims that the evil “gun industry” (whatever that means) and it’s partners gave between $20 million and $52.5 million between 2005 and 2011.

    According to the NRA’s publicly-viewable IRS 990 forms, the NRA took in a grand total of $1,594,131,472 in that same period. Yes, you’re reading that correctly, ladies and gentlemen: almost $1.6 BILLION, with a “B”.

    That’s a total of just 1.25% – 3.29% of their total revenues for that period.

  21. “In the first 18 days after the shooting, the NRA gained more than 100,000 new members. Firearms sales also soared in the weeks after the shooting. . . .”

    Good for the NRA. For more than two decades the NRA has been most visible nemesis for gun-controllers. Each time they mount one of their carefully planned, well financed, oh-so carefully nuanced propaganda campaigns it proves to be counterproductive: huge amounts of money and memberships begin to roll into the NRA from gun supporters. The first time I saw this happen, sometime back in the 80’s, I tried to join but the NRA’s phone lines were so jammed for the next few weeks I couldn’t get in. Something similar happened each subsequent time the gun-controllers made a move. It’s almost as though the gun-controllers are shilling for the NRA. The NRA has its faults, but it more than earned its keep when Wayne made his “good guy with a gun” comment. As soon as he said that, you could see the gun-controllers moral imperatives begin to evaporate. That’s what NRA does best and, as long as it can do stuff like that, it’s got my support and my money.

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