Gun Control Activists Won't Be Happy With This Washington Post Admission

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The civil trial against the National Rifle Association and its leadership spearheaded by New York Attorney General Letitia James may have far-reaching implications for the Second Amendment organization, but even the Washington Post admits that the future of the 2A movement doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of the remaining employees at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.


In a weekend feature on the weakened state of the association, reporters Beth Reinhard and Silvia Foster-Frau detailed the declining revenues and increased legal bills that the NRA has faced in recent years, with revenue down by 40 percent since 2016 and expenses to attorneys soaring during that same period; $181 million between 2018 and 2022. The report leaves little doubt that the NRA is in serious financial trouble. Former director and Kansas judge Phillip Journey told the Post that the group is a “dead man walking”, while an Ohio State University accounting professor contends it’s “in a financial spiral that will not be easy to recover from.”

While the long-term future of the NRA may be in doubt, the Post delivered a dose of reality to the anti-gunners who fervently believe that if they’re able to take down the organization they can kill off the future of the gun rights movement.

The NRA has never faced a more perilous moment: It is hemorrhaging money and members, uncertain about the next generation of leadership and facing the possibility of court-ordered oversight, all at a time when gun-control groups are gaining strength amid frequent mass shootings. As Trump closes in on the Republican presidential nomination, some current and former leaders concede the organization is too depleted to spend significantly on his campaign.

“The presidential race is always important, but the NRA has finite resources and needs to maximize its impact,” said David Keene, a longtimeboard member and former president. “The money we have might be better spent on closely contested, down-ballot races.”

Yet the NRA’s struggles do not signaldoom for the gun-rights movement as liberals have long predicted. Its legacy endures in a Republican Party that casts even modest gun-control proposals as attacks on the individual’s constitutional right to self-defense, and in Trump’s MAGA movement, where the NRA’s hostility toward government bureaucracy is deeply internalized.


Support for the Second Amendment is deeply ingrained among Republican voters, to be sure, but the WaPo also ignored the fact that gun owners aren’t found exclusively on the right side of the aisle in the United States. As an NBC poll released in November found, more than half of all households now report having at least one firearm; a record high for the survey going back 25 years. Most of that growth, at least over the past five years, has come from self-identified Democrats, not Republicans. In 2019, 64 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats said they had a gun in their home. In NBC’s latest survey, the number of GOP voters with guns at home ticked up to 66 percent, but 41 percent of Democrats revealed that someone in their household is exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Now, owning a gun doesn’t automatically turn someone into a Second Amendment activist, but these figures still demonstrate that a sizeable portion of the Democratic base is rejecting the fundamental premise of the gun control movement even if they haven’t yet turned on the politicians in their own party who are intent on criminalizing their newly-exercised right to keep and bear arms. We’ve also seen the establishment and rise of non-traditional Second Amendment organizations like the Liberal Gun Club and Pink Pistols/Operation Blazing Sword alongside the growth of groups like Gun Owners of America, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition; all of which are stepping up to fill the gap left by the NRA’s declining spending on lobbying, political campaigns, and litigation.


Will the Second Amendment movement be stronger if NRA reformers manage to right the ship? Absolutely. I’ve written before that the NRA is worth saving, and I still believe that to be the case. But as even the Washington Post admits, if the group were to fold up its tent tomorrow gun owners aren’t going away, and 2A activists will still be just as committed to defending the right to keep and bear arms as they are right now. As Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb told the Post, the strength of the NRA has always been its members, and that applies to the gun rights community at large. There are still tens of millions of politically active gun owners who are invested in protecting our Second Amendment rights, and we’re not going to disappear no matter what the future holds for the National Rifle Association.

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