NRA New York Lawsuit Attack
Courtesy National Rifle Association

The Washington Post reports that subscriptions to National Rifle Association print publications are up about 350,000 between February and June. Since the NRA doesn’t release membership numbers, the WaPo figures that’s a good proxy indicating a surge in new memberships since the Parkland shooting on February 14.

All NRA members are entitled to a complimentary print or digital subscription to one of four magazines — American Rifleman, American Hunter, America’s First Freedom and Shooting Illustrated. As part of its outreach to advertisers, the NRA releases subscriber numbers for each of the four magazines on a semiannual basis. Those numbers are independently verified by the Alliance for Audited Media, a third-party media consulting firm.

The NRA’s latest AAM statements, which cover January through June, show total magazine subscriptions increasing from 3,746,153 to 4,066,198 over that period. Much of that increase comes from Shooting Illustrated, which was added to the NRA’s roster in 2016. This year marks the first time the NRA has included it in AAM statements.

The increase came after a lull following the 2016 elections and the perception by many gun owners that the threat to gun rights would subside after the Obama administration rode off into the sunset.

Monthly figures going back several years show that subscriptions to the other three magazines peaked in October 2016 and had been steadily declining through 2017. But the trends show an inflection point in April and May of this year, after which the numbers began to rise again. That time period corresponds to an April pledge by the group to sign up 100,000 new members in 100 days.

Parkland March for Our Lives Gun Control
courtesy PBS and youtube.com

As we’ve seen before, nothing sells guns or NRA memberships like a media-enabled post-mass-shooting national push to further restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights. And this year the advent of the heavily AstroTurfed Parkland Funky Bunch’s national media blitz and summer gun control tour no doubt provided just the impetus many Americans needed to send in their NRA dues.

But the WaPo expresses skepticism about the six million member total the NRA has claimed recently.

The NRA currently claims a membership of about 6 million individuals. It’s unclear why that figure is higher than the 4 million magazine subscribers, considering that all individual members are entitled to a subscription. In the past, the group has said that digital-only subscriptions are not included in the AAM statements and that some members choose to forgo subscriptions completely. The NRA did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

As someone who’s one of those NRA members who chooses not to receive any of their magazines, your faithful correspondent can well believe that there are a great many more dues-paying members than those who receive those dead tree publications.

While the Parkland shooting galvanized supporters of stricter gun-control laws, other evidence suggests that many gun owners were similarly spurred to action. In the month following the shooting, for instance, donations to the NRA’s Political Victory Fund surged to a 21st century high.

So just as President Obama earned his title as the greatest gun salesman in American history, David Hogg and his high school pals have worked as hard to increase the NRA’s membership rolls as any other group ever has. New York’s Governor Soprano is doing his bit, too. And if the GOP loses the House of Representatives this fall, it may not be long before the NRA soon claims seven million members.

 

28 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t receive the print magazine either. If you use their app you have access to all mags. So how they think that’s a reliable metric is beyond me. “Those numbers are independently verified by the Alliance for Audited Media, a third-party media consulting firm.” Gun owners are notorious for not giving out info, I don’t care who claims to have verified it. Come on now.

    • I also use the app. So if mags increased 350k, I would guess that membership is probably up 500k. Totally uneducated guess, but I would say it’s as valid as the next idiot on the street.

  2. Huh?
    The increase is because the NRA released figures for one of its magazines for the first time this year, and last year shooting illustrated existed but wasn’t included in the total?
    I’d call that a non-increase.

  3. Why would you not at least get a digital magazine when you join the NRA? I can see not getting the print version. No sense letting people at the post office or recycling center have the address of a gun owner.

  4. A demographic shift by recruiting younger members might coincide with (cause?) a shift to digital consumption, leaving the dead tree editions for the older, longer term members.

  5. I’ll be an NRA member for 2 more years fer sure. I get the magazine. Since I spend 80% of my time perusing gun stuff it’s pretty inconsequential. They should have at least 20000000 more members. And do better…

    • https://youtu.be/2pk2LqqqtDs?t=4m9s (go to 4:09). Compare it to Volume 13, Number 13, August 15 1986 edition of The Monitor
      “”Repealing the machine gun amendment tacked on to the McClure-Volkmer bill will be a high priority” said National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Wayne LaPierre Jr.”

      Unless they’re trying to ban guns they really shouldn’t be.

  6. Names I could see but what’s the Big Secret with numbers? Would it hurt, the NRA has XXX amount and growing larger, or the NRA has XXX and shrinking. What’s the big secret?

    • It would require Wayne LaPierre Laval to reveal the growth has been incredibly slugish after he repeatedly worked to attack gun rights in 2017/2018.

    • I think I’m going to go broke. I belong and donate to the NRA (Benefactor Life Member), GOA (Life Member), SAF, The Heritage Foundation, and I also donate to the CPRC.

      I think I got most bases covered.

    • Not sure to which organization you are referring but it’s safe to say- if one understands the history over the time period since 1971, that without NRA, we’d be well on our way to what UK and Australia are already. Semi autos would have been gone since 1993, probably most if not all handguns as well.

  7. The number of print magazine subscriptions is hardly a method of determining the membership numbers of NRA. A few years back recruiters were given the option of selling Associate Memberships- the mail/etc without a magazine, free cap or the insurance and other perks, which a lot of people never used anyway.. Cost at the time was $10 rather than the going rate of $25 and recruiters were still given a payment for each one they signed up. Again, at the time, new members were worth $10, renewals were $5 and I think the Associates were worth $3 each. So, the guys in it for the money and not the fight started flooding NRA with tons of $10 memberships. We wouldn’t sell them- figured if Gomer was that frickin’ cheap we didn’t need him… $25 memberships were going at about the cost of 1 box of good 30-06 ammo… Plus we are paying a portion of their free admission to the show. Not doing that for a measly $3.

    A lot of recruiters are still pushing the $10, no magazine memberships because they’re trying to make money selling them. We use our “profit” to send kids to shooting competitions, among other things. At any rate, I’m betting that at least 1.5 million members are Associate Members. And, as someone also mentioned, a fair number of folk are now doing on-line-only magazine memberships, so they would also not be in the print media figure.

    Me? I’m betting NRA is easily 6 million members and it will continue to rise. This fight will never be over once-and-for-all, even if someone did manage some sort of real ban that will never take place in my lifetime. The uninformed out here who claim Constitutional protection and all that, and who want something to happen that will forever quiet the gun ban idiots are delusional at best, stupid at worst. I have no problem fighting to maintain this sacred, God-given right. It’s more than worth it- if not, start burying you guns. Of course, then you can’t shoot them…

  8. I have some old issues of the American Rifleman from 1938 where they talk about the U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings (yes that was his real name) at that time wanting to register all guns and outlaw handguns as an amendment to the 1934 NFA. They ask the membership to contact Congress to express their opposition. It might interest you to know that one of the first definitions of a machine gun in the 1934 NFA stated that a semi-auto with a capacity of over 12 rounds was a machine gun. Things have not really changed.

  9. Great, because the NRA is and always has been the preeminent gun rights advocacy organization, bar none. Every legal gun owner and gun supporters should join the NRA. Imagine for a second if instead of 5.5 million members, the NRA had 75 to 100 million dues paying members. Screw all the minor gun “clubs” out there with dubious intent vying for the money you should be sending to the NRA. Any gun owner that isn’t a member of the NRA is a freeloader that is benefiting from the life long work that the NRA has established. Get off your asses, reach into your wallets, use your phone’s for something useful other than youtube and games and call the NRA and join today. $33 bucks, that’s less than what you use to fill up your car. Unless you’re one of those whimps that’s brainwashed into driving an electric car with a 70 mile range.The NRA will accept your money too hippies. LMAO.

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