A year ago, Pew Research published a poll that showed over fourteen million adults in the United States self identified as National Rifle Association (NRA) members.
Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they currently own a gun, and of that group, 19% say they belong to the National Rifle Association. While the demographic profile of NRA members is similar to that of other gun owners, their political views, the way they use their firearms and their attitudes about gun policy differ significantly from gun owners who are not members of the organization.
Twenty-four percent of the population of the United States is under 18 years old. There are about 248 million adults. And according to Pew last year, roughly 14 million adults are willing to say they own guns and identify as NRA members.
The actual number of people who identify as NRA members is likely even higher. The poll excludes people who did not identify themselves as gun owners. Gun owners are often unwilling to tell people they have guns. Politically aware gun owners, such as NRA members, are likely to be much more sensitive about admitting gun ownership to someone on the phone. The poll shows some evidence of this.
In 2017, the NRA stated it had five million members. If spouses and adult children also identified as NRA members, without formal membership, the number of self-identified NRA members doubles to 10 million.
Many people stop paying annual dues to the NRA for a multitude of reasons. Some people join the NRA, stop, and rejoin again. It is likely that most people who had an active NRA membership at one time still identify as NRA members.
Spouses, adult children, and former NRA members likely account for most of the population that identify as NRA members without being formally enrolled in the organization.
Now, after the post-Parkland anti-gun hysteria, the NRA may have exceeded six million members. They don’t release their membership rolls to the public for obvious reasons.
All of this — the millions of actual members plus the millions more or identify as members of the NRA — are the source of the organization’s power. They’re one of the most dedicated, aware and active groups in America. They are what provide the political clout the NRA wields in national politics.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.