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“In many accounts, the power of the N.R.A. comes down to money. The organization has an annual operating budget of some quarter of a billion dollars, and between 2000 and 2010 it spent fifteen times as much on campaign contributions as gun-control advocates did. But money is less crucial than you’d think. The N.R.A.’s annual lobbying budget is around three million dollars, which is about a fifteenth of what, say, the National Association of Realtors spends. The N.R.A.’s biggest asset isn’t cash but the devotion of its members.” – Taking on the N.R.A. [via] [h/t JP]

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    • Tragic, the NRA operates on “quarter of a billion dollars” when the government only give planned parenthood $500 million a year.

      Regardless of how we feel about the issues, the lack professional journalism in “The New Yorker” is shouting louder than their bs.

  1. You’re forgetting some of the most important things about the NRA! Number 1 The NRA is composed of members members who believe in the Constitution and believe and freedoms of this country of ours! The NRA In itself is the oldest civil rights organization In the country. Charlton Heston One of the biggest supporters Of the NRA Walked with dr. Martin Luther King For civil rights and equal treatment for African Americans. For this organization to be called a terrorist organization is the most ridiculous friggin thing I have ever heard in my entire life! I’ve been a life member since 1975 and would never belong to any organization that promoted terrorism in any way shape or form! And for the progressive liberal media And the Democrats to use the NRA as their target base of the problem with guns is absolutely freaking retarded!The NRA has been defending gun rights AndCivil rights Since it’s been created! I take great offense When A website such as the truth about guns Comes down hard on the NRA Which is supporting gun rights and freedoms for all of us even the ones that don’t use their 2nd Amendment rights are still being protected by the NRA!

        • …like the quotes around the complete excerpt from the New Yorker article, indicating that it is not RF’s own work but rather that of some TNY writer (James Surowiecki, btw – don’t know who he is and don’t care to)?

          I still get a sense that The New Yorker isn’t a big fan of the NRA.

          Just what constitutional right, exactly, is the “National Association of Realtors” lobbying to protect?

    • As Vince for Shamwow would say “But WAIT! There’s MORE! We have no more than 160 eligible voters. We have 110 million legal gun owners or 67% of the voting public. LET Shrillery run on guns. PLEASE pretty please. That will get the 105 million gun owners NOT in the NRA off their asses and into the polls except for the few moron Fudds out there.

      The article also ignores not only the 110 million but the fact that they may not all be NRA members but a fat percentage are members of their state and LOCAL clubs which are affilliated directly or indirectly with the NRA.

      They have spent so much time over the years building the NRA into an evil giant ogre that they’ve never HEARD of SAF, GOA or CCRKBA much less NYRSPA which is older than the NRA.

      • Exactly! Let them concentrate on the NRA boogeyman and we will keep beating them with the same stick we have been for the past two plus years.

  2. I became an NRA Life Member in 1978, and am now a Benefactor Member. Although I sometimes feel that the NRA takes too moderate a stance, they are, among all the 2nd Amendment organizations, the heavy hitter. At one point, Fortune Magazine rated them as the most effective lobbying organization in Washington, D.C, and they certainly do have a powerful influence.

  3. “(The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was originally called the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.) Today, they’re respectful of gun owners and focussed on screening and background checks. ”

    Swatting and calling us terrorists is being respectful?

    • In fairness (and in the interest of accuracy): The reference to CSGV is a parentethical that was inserted into the sentence “….[G]un control advocates…were openly prohibitionist.” The “they” in the next sentence refers to “gun control activists” in general, not CSGV in particular. Of course, arguably, it makes not a whit of difference, as you can find “let’s SWAT ’em” and “”whack ’em from behind with a shovel” and “they only want guns because they are underendowed inbred rednecks” language on any gun-grabber outfit’s blog or FB page. But overall, I think the author’s point is valid; the grabbers have been reduced from advocating outright bans to advocating for more background checks (and from there, lately, to just advocating for a bright-line test for “dealers”), and to asking hoity-toity coffee shops to ask patrons not to bring their guns in. Not that the grabber’s ultimate aim has changed, but they have had to back off waaaay down the line in most places.

  4. That would set the gun control lobby budget at….$200k/year.

    That would also mean NRA lobbying makes up just over 1% of their budget.

    Neither of those numbers seems right to me. I mean, I’d love to know that the NRA is as effective as that, but then I have to ask for further clarification on how they are using the other $247m/year. And considering that a single high priced lobbyist will cost more than $200k, how are they somehow even more effective.

    • Agreed… something isn’t adding up.

      Bloomberg alone was supposed to have spent 50 million on gun control campaigning last year, and the NRA is reportedly spending….. screw it! These people do a much better job of keeping up with who is paying whom regarding campaign stuff.

      NRA clocks in at 77, Bloomberg LP clocks in at 44.

    • Keep in mind that lobbying activity and political contributions are entirely different things. Lobbying involves contacting legislators, arguing on behalf of your group, explaining your position on proposed legislation.

      Political contributions are just that – money given to politicians to help them get elected. And obviously those lobbyists who represent financially powerful groups get lawmakers’ attention.

      I agree that the figures given in the article are confusing and not very useful. But the point is valid – the financial power of the NRA pales in comparison to the heavy hitters in Washington. The oil industry, the drug industry and any number of professional associations throw around enough money to make the NRA look like a wannabe in Washington politics.

      • True, though the NRA can drive contributions by its members and even non-member firearms owners by endorsing candidates in races. That is a huge cash-multiplier, and it’s something other lobbying groups can’t replicate as effectively. The Oil Lobby, to take one example, can wield a lot of power, but they can’t drive huge numbers of individual, small-dollar donations to a particular candidate the way the NRA can.

        Thinking about it, maybe this needs to be taken further. Once the general election gets going, if a candidate (ok, if the GOP candidate) gives a really great speech in defense of the 2A, or makes a great point on 2A in a debate, the NRA, GOA, etc. should organize a money-bomb campaign, so that candidate gets an avalanche of small donations in the next 24 hours. That sort of thing helps to train candidates and also generates fee media coverage.

      • I understand what lobbying entails, but I’m not buying the numbers.

        If the Bloomberg, et al, are only spending $200k on K St, I’ll eat my proverbial hat. Even the $3m is a bit shady, depending on how they are doing their accounting. If some of those costs are shifted to the contribution accounts, it’s a little more reasonable.

    • “but then I have to ask for further clarification on how they are using the other $247m/year.”

      Most of that gets eaten up by their Gun Insurance program paying out on all those boating accidents.

  5. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. they will absolutely push this narrative to find a way to label the NRA as a terrorist organization in order to get rid of it.

    Don’t believe it? Israel, which affords citizenship to the Arabs (and any other religion/race) living in its borders, let’s them vote and run for government, is called racist and apartheid and the world jumps on that bandwagon like a bunch of frat boys on a beer cart. Every other Arab country in the area, including ones who don’t let women vote, drive a car, or go to college, are ignored or celebrated. It’s all about perception and selling a message. (I’ll sit back and watch how many people on this forum attack me for that example, proving my point, hopefully.)

    They can’t attack the guns, because the guns are really just objects, so they will attack the people defending our right to own the before going after the objects themselves. The fight never ends. Donate to whichever Gun Rights organization you can or want to, because after the NRA they will go after the rest of them.

    • This is Dictator 101. The Progressives and the like attack the messenger because they cannot win the fight against the message. It is why they will label members of the NRA who are black as racists, those who are police officers as criminals, or those who are US soldiers as terrorists. They used this tactic against the Jews in Nazi Germany, they used it against the capitalist throughout the cold war, and they used it against the Colonists during and before the American Revolution. They are not about truth. Their goal is conquest at all costs, and an armed citizenry is the only thing stopping them from reaching that goal.

  6. The NRA isn’t perfect, but any organization that is so maligned and reviled by totalitarian progressives, looney liberals, and other assorted leftists is doing something right.

  7. CSGV is respectful of gun owners? Since when. Plus we all know any signs of “reasonableness” on their part is a ploy.

  8. Bingo! I was reading an article about the downfall of several major lobby groups over the course of time and I kept thinking it was funny because big tobacco or the anti Cuba lobby didn’t have millions of dues paying members or hundreds of millions of supporters who benefit from their work. The NRA isn’t just some corporate lobby group like the media would have you believe.
    I thought it was especially rich that they tried to compare the NRA to the prohibitionists in making their case that the NRA is doomed. Just another day where middle school research papers get passed off as “journalism” in the USA.

    • @Tex300BLK: “I thought it was especially rich that they tried to compare the NRA to the prohibitionists in making their case that the NRA is doomed” Thanks, I had not heard that one until now. Ironic that the Anti-Gun Crowd would refer to the NRA as Prohibitionists when they are the ones that are working to prohibit guns. But that is about the same as calling Pro-Gun People terrorists. They come up with any lie or label that they think will further their cause. Truth does not matter to them. The end justifies the means in their minds. Just like it did to Hitler. Stay strong and keep working to promote freedom so we can defeat these Statists. The NRA is not perfect but no large organization composed of many different members is. But they do a good job overall and well worth being a member to support the 2nd Amendment.

  9. Exactly! The NRA doesn’t even control the message. We do. If the NRA didn’t tow the line, we’d jump ship.

    The liberals have some fantasy that if they could just eliminate the NRA they could stop the signal. They say that gun owners should take back the 2nd Amendment from the NRA and create an alternative. But we have alternatives to the NRA, and they’re more pro-2A than the NRA! I’m looking at you GOA.

    • “Tow the line” and “jump the ship” together is too rich.

      “Tow” means to pull behind a ship, and a “line” on a ship is what landlubbers call a rope, so “tow the line” means to throw a rope in the water and pull it behind your ship… which you might do if someone jumped ship and wanted to climb back aboard.

      The expression is “toe the line”, as in line up with your toes on a line (and stand at attention).

  10. You know, when that idiot at Gawker suggested the grabbers need to become like the anti-abortion folks, something occurred to me. The anti-abortion guys that Gawker referenced were willing to be arrested, charged under RICO, and sent to prison for their cause. How many of Shannon’s cosseted faux moms do you think come anywhere close to that–or will convince themselves to come close to that? They’ll find another socially correct diversion first. This article is probably more right than they know pointing out the devotion of the membership as NRA’s strength.

  11. The article’s author, James Surowiecki, gets it. Sort of. He understands the NRA members are politically engaged and highly motivated.

    What never gets mentioned is the NRA’s method of scoring votes and grading candidates. While I don’t always agree with their grades, they do help NRA members cut through the campaign rhetoric and vote for candidates based on their actual records. So we not only vote, but we know whom to vote for.

    There was quite a bit of rancor in Washington over whether the NRA would score the Senate confirmation votes on Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. This illustrates the real power of the NRA.

  12. Ill be damnef if they didnt figure it out: “Infringement of the 2nd Amendment is unpopular in the US because the people oppose it.”

  13. Sent one of my daughters to class with a list for a teacher who rants about the NRA buying DC all the time. Next time, she raised her hand, “Excuse me Mrs. XX, but according to this list of contributions to political parties, the NRA isn’t in the top 10. Nor the top 20. But I see here there are two teachers unions in the top 10. How about that?”

  14. How’d that turn out old ben? Did she get an “F”? Another reason to home school…

  15. Well, what can I say? I take that as a compliment. I’m not American, and I don’t even live in the United States. But I joined the NRA and donated to GOA right after Sandy Hook because I believe in your 2nd Amendment and what it stands for in the free world.

  16. The author is either clueless, or blind, his last paragraph reveals his ignorance.

    “What is true is that the N.R.A. at last has worthy opponents. The gun-control movement is far more pragmatic than it once was. When the N.R.A. took up the banner of gun rights, in the seventies, gun-control advocates were openly prohibitionist. (The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was originally called the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.) Today, they’re respectful of gun owners and focussed on screening and background checks. That’s a sensible strategy. It’s also an accommodation to the political reality that the N.R.A. created. ♦”

    After 40 years of getting their asses kicked, they are becoming unhinged, and are the furthest thing from the definition of respectful.

  17. The NRA doesn’t spend money on lobbying, that would break election laws. The NRA-Institute for Legislative Action is the political arm.

  18. The N.R.A.’s annual lobbying budget is around three million dollars? Pfffft. Bloomberg spends more than that on panties.

  19. What I find interesting is that using figures from the MSM, the “gun industry” donates on the order of five to ten times annually to the NRA more than the NRA spends on lobbying. If the mantra that the NRA is a tool of the “gun industry” had any substance to it, the NRA would be in serious trouble.

    It just goes to show that the antis are all about politics, so all they see is politics. The firearms (and accessories) industry donates to a whole range of reasons, from gun safety programs to youth shooting programs to marksmanship programs to…… yeah, all those incredibly socially valuable things the NRA does.

    I see a few posts where the same mistake is made, wondering where the money is going if it isn’t spent on politics. Politics is only the most visible face of the NRA! For those who don’t know, Wikipedia has a rough breakdown:

  20. NRA member for life….and DAMN proud of it! My feelings are shared by millions of others and that is why the NRA is so powerful.

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