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Buzzfeed is shocked and appalled by what they see as the obvious hypocrisy of the NRA. They’re out with a breathless piece laying bare for all the world to see the dirty secret that, while the NRA riles up its legion of dedicated members with the specter of national registration, the gun rights org has assiduously worked to create its own wide and deep data base of gun owners’ info. Because there’s really no difference between a vast an expanding government bent on establishing de facto (if not actual) registration in violation of current laws and an association of 5 million firearms owners using entirely legal means to grow the organization and effectively represent its members. Anyway, here’s Jeff G.’s take as published at and reprinted here with permission . . .

Some people who support taking away gun rights from law abiding American citizens are making a big deal out of their sudden realization that the NRA keeps a mailing list. The NRA collects name and address from members who join the NRA, as well as from people who take gun safety courses, purchase hunting licenses, get pistol permits, or attend gun shows. The NRA has been doing this for years, almost as if the NRA is trying to get the names and addresses of  people who like guns or may be gun owners!

Oh, wait, that actually shouldn’t be a such a surprise. The surprise is that some people are now trying to mislead the public into believing an address list is the same thing as a “gun registry.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize the difference between a mailing list and a “gun registry.” The NRA is opposed to gun registries. It fights against laws that would mandate gun owners provide (at risk of criminal prosecution) the serial number into a registry for each and every gun legally purchased. An actual gun registry could thus be used for confiscation.

So let’s see what we have here. On the one hand we have a grass roots pro-gun organization collecting addresses of people who are interested in guns. And on the other hand we have a government entity that wants to force by law all gun owners to enter into an official gun registry their purchase or transfer, by specific serial number and personal identifying information, of each and every gun transaction, even private sales or trades. And some people want you to believe the mailing list is the same as a gun registry?

Is it really a surprise to anyone that a pro-gun organization might acquire some information on those who may be interested in guns, and those who might support their causes?  They will send you mail, and let you know if some politician is about to try and ban guns.  They may ask if you want to join the NRA. They may even – gasp – ask if you want to buy some NRA merchandise. Sounds like they are some sort of pro-gun organization!

Shouldn’t there be a law against people organizing to talk about guns, creating literature about guns and hunting, organizing shooting matches, teaching gun safety, and making voters aware of proposed unconstitutional laws against gun ownership? If we allow an organization to do that stuff, the next thing you know there will be credit card companies collecting names and addresses of people who might want to use their services. Or the humane society might start sending out information to pet owners!

Contrast what the NRA, or any organization that puts together address lists, is doing, with the possibility of a government mandated universal background check system and gun registry that can be used to confiscate guns. In fact, the State of California is already proving that background check data can be used to confiscate guns.

I am not necessarily against background checks, although I do not think they will effectively reduce crime.  However, if we were to have background checks, we would need stronger promises than merely saying the federal government can’t create a registration list with it.  We would need to be clear that states could not use that information to confiscate guns.  We would need to make state gun registration lists illegal so that they were not backdoor run arounds on federal prohibitions against registration.

People who say that the failed Manchin-Toomey background bill “explicitly PROHIBITED the federal government from creating a database” apparently do not understand that the registration information still could be passed to states. Nor have they read the fine print where it does not actually prohibit the entire federal government from building a registration database for confiscation, but merely specifies that the Attorney General cannot do so.

That loophole would be big enough to support a super highway of registration information used for confiscation.

Some people like to exclaim, “the government would never confiscate guns!” Curiously, those same people are also the ones who support gun bans. Really? You want the government to ban guns, but you don’t want them to confiscate the banned gun?  That makes no sense at all.  Even I support having police make the best and most efficient use of data available.  Having the police arrest criminals is a good thing.  But the concern about a gun registry is that the California-style confiscation tactics might also be used to take guns away from the law abiding.

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      • What most people don’t know, is that there are two different entities (at least) that may have your information. There are the NRA-ILA (the lobbying body) and the NRA (training and shooting sports promotion), both serve a particular purpose. I don’t know if the two share information, but the bodies are distinctively separate. Inside the NRA itself, there are multiple departments (training, promotion, LE, etc). Knowing what I know about other business entities, they rarely “talk” to each other. It’s entirely conceivable that information may be compartmentalized by each department, or entity.

        On that note, I have been successful in getting removed from some NRA mailing lists. That success, mirrors the level of effort (as noted above), by contacting each individual department that provides said mailing.

        Besides, getting off the mailing list is not the same as getting on the mailing list. Getting on the mailing list is voluntary, unlike the proposed “gun registration” list(s). Not really the same thing. You may be making a funny (likely), but there are plenty that will take the humorous anecdote and belief it to be truth.

  1. OMG – This is stupid, yes the NRA has info on its members…I’m a life member so yes they have my info.
    Do I think the’d ever use it against me or hand it over to gun grabbers? No, or I wouldn’t be part of them.

    • NRA Life member here, too. The NRA would never hand over their list voluntarily, but recall that in 1994 after the AWB resulted in Democrats losing the House & the Senate, Bill Clinton personally sent the IRS to NRA headquarters to do audit their books and to harass the staff. One particularily obnoxious agent followed people around the office demanding “Where’s the list? Produce the list!” He did this IIRC until Clinton was out of office. But the NRA folks stood their ground, probably while asking the agent to produce a court order or a warrant, and the IRS went away empty handed. That’s what I heard, anyway.

  2. I think the point is that THEY COULD. And I confess this a bit unsettling. Contributions to GOA, JPFO and CCRKPA are money better spent, IMO.

    • A gun registry has your name, address, social security number, your FFL number if you have one, and the gun’s info like serial number, date of production, make, model, and caliber. The NRA has a mailing list, which is just your name and mailing address. Unless the NRA starts requiring that you list your guns before you join, the NRA can’t and won’t make a registry. There are no similarities.

    • If you don’t think those organizations you mentioned don’t equally contain the same mailing list of its members, you’re deluding yourself.

    • Just because they COULD doesn’t mean they would. I could fly for a few seconds, but it doesn’t mean I would jump off a building.

    • All sort of a divide and conquer by the anti’s where they can cherry pick the stats they like and say for example, “local membership is less than _ _ _ % so join us for Gun Sense In America” or some such. The NRA membership could probably quadruple and then it would get the attention of every politician and their wannabes in every corner of even the blue states. Five million members in 50 states (57 according to Barry) is noticeable but does not scare away enough because “all politics are local” axiom.

    • Exactly! Barry, Eric with-Holder, Shotgun Joe, Feinstaink, Schoomer, Bloomer et al. want an actual registry of actual firearms so they no where to confiscate them. The NRA doesn’t know what I have. They just know where to mail my American Rifleman.

      • The government has been doing this crap for decades. Not just the current admin. You guys sound like a stuck needle on a record.

        • You sound like an apologist for the current admin. How do you know we haven’t talked like this about all previous admins? The current admin is the biggest threat to our rights at this time. Who knows about the next one.

          Run along now, boy, it’s probably past your bed time.

    • This is always fun to ask folks who think the current administration can do no wrong……

      When someone says “why would be afraid to give the government that information, its not like they can come and get your guns” ask them if they would be willing to give that kind of power to the government if the opposite political party were in charge?

      • Better yet, ask them if they heard about this small event a few years back called “Katrina” and also ask if the .gov didn’t go around confiscating guns, based on registrations. You can also YouTube where they beat down an old lady for her revolver. And that was the POLICE. Gin registration will eventually lead to confiscation, it’s just a matter of time and increments.

        • “Gin registration will eventually lead to confiscation, it’s just a matter of time and increments”

          I guess this was true during prohibition but I say refuse to register both your Gin or Guns.

  3. The N.R.A. doesn’t know if I have a .22 LR single shot rifle or a .50 BMG Barret. Sure they know my address. That is how they mail me my American Rifleman every month.

  4. Funny thing, in nearly 20 years, the NRA has never sent me a questionnaire asking for names, types, quantities or serial numbers of my firearms. Ever.

    Dishonesty assumes stupidity in its victims.

  5. My son has an NRA membership and gets his American Rifleman at his address at college. Unfortunately, there is no firearm of any kind at that address. Mailing list =/= gun registry.

  6. Of course the NSA is scanning front and back of mail. So they probably have created a “list” of names for Barry and with-Holder.

    • No. They just use your google searches to know what fire arms you have. They don’t need the exact serial number or year of manufacture. It’s just deduced from what you search for. It’s metadata baby.

  7. Where is their outrage over GLAAD putting together a registry of homosexuals or the NAACP putting together a registry of African Americans or the AARP putting together a registry of senior citizens etc etc.

  8. The NRA still haa Joe Manchin with an A. That needs reduced to an F- and suspect it will given the NRA has had ads running against his b.s.

  9. They know they can’t beat the NRA so they’re changing their tactics in an attempt to damage the NRA. They want the simple-minded to think the NRA is doing the very thing they are fighting against so people leave and take up arms against the NRA, which would weaken and potentially destroy the NRA from the inside. While that would work for an anti-gun group, since there is legitimate malice and deceit at their core, it won’t do anything against the NRA because we all know the difference between a mailing list and registry. Sounds like the anti-gun groups have no idea what we fill out to send in to the NRA in the first place.

    They’re trying to spice things up but they have the momentum and presence of half a wriggling worm.

  10. I don’t know about voluntary. I never signed up for any NRA stuff but I still get mail from them. I would think they they collected my info when I sent all those emails through automated systems (I don’t think I used an NRA one though). Not that I really care, since other companies that I never gave info to also send me stuff.

  11. No surprise to see that from a worthless blue state rag like the Times Union. I just wish it wasn’t being printed less than 50 miles from where I’m sitting.

    • Yeah, except that the anti-gun part ain’t from the Times Union. The original article was on Buzzfeed (that bastion of journalism best known for pictures of funny cats), and this rebuttal is from the Times-Union.

      It’s okay, reading comprehension isn’t for everyone.

    • Clearly you missed the fact that the breathless article was from Buzzfeed, and the opinion piece saying “it’s not the same thing” is from the Times Union. But don’t let that get in the way of your ignorant indignation.

  12. Like William Burke, I belong and make contributions to these other pro gun/2nd amendment organizations, including the NRA ILA.
    The NRA, and in particular the ILA, has the loudest voice in this arena , therefore, I contribute more to the NRA as opposed to the others.

    I followed the Links to the Southern California Public Radio’s article about confiscation of guns in California; “One by one California agents track down illegally owned guns.”
    I have heard that the not so great state of California has some sort of confiscation program, but I have not paid much attention to it.

    This has to be an in creditably expensive program to go after less than 2000 guns last year. (no wonder the state is billions of dollars in debt.)
    What’s scarey, if I’m reading the article correctly, is if your girl friend, without any proof, get’s a restraining order on me, I can expect up to nine agents raiding my house to find any guns that may or may not be there. In this process your dog runs the risk of being shot if he/she barks in an agressive manner.

    Back on track; The NRA may not be perfect, but they have more dollars and clout that the others.

  13. Oh, no! The NRA could confiscate my Life Member window sticker and threaten to stop sending me junk mail for their stupid wine club.

  14. Guys, making the big time of a national pro-gun website is an honor!

    Be sure to stop by my Times Union gun blog at the link posted in the intro to my article. I look forward to your comments there, and be forewarned that other side of the isle posts articles and comments there as well, so it is not preaching to the choir.

  15. The only problem with the NRA mailing list (and I have no issues with them maintaining a mailing list per se) is that I don’t trust the NSA (i.e. the Government) not to get their hands on it (in an unconstitutional, domestic spying sort of way)…

  16. Kinda like “Dog Bites Man” is not news but “Man bites Dog” is. It would be news if an organization as large and successful as the NRA didn’t have a database of members and potential members. The fact that they do keep a list, not really news.

  17. I don’t think the NRA has a list of all guns at each address which is tbe pipe dram of tbe gun grabbers.

  18. Hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist/nut… but do any of you REALLY think our beloved government hasn’t already got this list? The same guys who offer the best hackers employment instead of incarceration? No offense guys… I’m retired federal officer and have NO doubt,,,

  19. NRA like other groups looks for way to improve membership and get their thoughts out during elelction cycles. So what do they likely do?

    they get lists of people who have a high probability of thinking the same way. Say like the subscrition list for Shotgun News. the email list from Gunbroker. the list of those with huinting licenses or permits from a given state.

    But as the astute readers here have pointed out it is not a registry of guns and gun owners. If you have a firearms deer tag in a state, chances are you own a gun. If you get Guns and Ammo chances are you have a gun.

  20. “I am not necessarily against background checks, although I do not think they will effectively reduce crime. However, if we were to have background checks, we would need stronger promises than merely saying the federal government can’t create a registration list with it. We would need to be clear that states could not use that information to confiscate guns. We would need to make state gun registration lists illegal so that they were not backdoor run arounds on federal prohibitions against registration.”

    Dan – do you honestly believe that “stronger promises” from any level of the government are worth squat? From an administration that has consistently chosen which laws, or parts of laws, it will enforce or ignore?

    If the anti-gun group wants to show they believe background checks will reduce crime, they should immediately agree to a national law that requires all states and the FedGov to recognize any concealed weapons license issued by any state, and another law that allows any holder of a CWL to buy any gun from any FFL dealer in any state. After all, CWL holders have passed background checks far more stringent that simply calling the FBI NICS system, right? So there is no need to place any restrictions on the carry or purchase of firearms by CWL holders, right?

    Call me when the left agrees to these two laws, and I will be willing to discuss “universal background checks” with you. I won’t accept them, because it is none of the effin’ govt’s business what kind of private transaction I conduct, but I will talk to you.

  21. I am a Life member of the NRA and yes I am on their mailing list as well as several other of your mailing lists. No one to date has had the balls to ask me what I owned or what I intended to do with them. Morons.

  22. I’m a life member of the NRA i don’t mind that they have me on their mailing list i just wish the wine club invites would stop… I’m more of a beer and whiskey guy

  23. When you join the NRA you are supporting the 2A and your firearm liberties.Its a great list to be on. The liberal,gun-grabbing,douche bags are finally realizing that they can’t beat the NRA in anything,…period ! They are whinning pissants on one hell of a losing streak,because they are losers.

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