NRA Memberships Bounce Back In 2018

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

The National Rifle Association has been embattled for more than a year as the media and anti-gun groups continue to lay the blame for mass shootings at the feet of the organization, rather than placing it with the individuals who pull the trigger. The media coverage has been non-stop, almost all of it aimed at undermining the NRA.

However, all that negative media coverage backfired on the anti-gun journalists trying to lead the charge.

The National Rifle Association of America and its associated groups saw a sizable increase of both membership dues and contributions in 2018, according to the group’s annual report.

The report, which was handed out during the group’s latest annual meeting, shows dues went from $128,209,303 in 2017 to $170,391,374 in 2018—an increase of $42,182,071, or 33 percent. It also shows contributions rose from $132,879,299 in 2017 to $165,075,288 in 2018—an increase of $32,195,989 or 24 percent. The rise in dues came ahead of the NRA announcing it had reached 5.5 million members, a record number.

Overall, the NRA and its affiliates brought in $412,233,508 in 2018. That’s up from $378,122,489 in 2017. In total, the group’s revenue rose $34,111,019 or 9 percent. The numbers represent a clear resurgence of funding for the gun-rights group during 2018. Membership dues even topped those the group saw in 2016—$163,517,961.

While the midterm elections undoubtedly accounted for at least some of the increased donations, another part was that the gun community rallied around the embattled organization.

As the NRA was vilified in the media, gun owners throughout the nation–as well as a few who have never owned a firearm but recognized what was happening–joined the organization as a show of solidarity and defiance. The anti-NRA push by the media pushed a lot of people to join, many for the first time.

If anything, they helped save the NRA.

That’s not to say the NRA’s concerns are over. Not by any stretch of the imagination. However, it does illustrate how the firearms community will close ranks when an organization is under attack.

The NRA was never responsible for Parkland or any other mass shooting. It’s just served as a convenient scapegoat. The NRA was first invoked by then-Sheriff Scott Israel after Parkland to try and cover for the failures of his department that directly contributed to the shooting. He knew that a cursory look into the killer’s history would show the department had ample opportunity to stop him, but didn’t, so he tried to deflect the blame.

He chose a group the media was all too ready to blame for anything anyway.

Luckily, pro-gun individuals recognized what was happening and stepped up. We knew damn good and well that the NRA wasn’t responsible, even before we found out how profoundly incompetent Israel was as Broward County Sheriff.

Now, the media is still attacking the NRA. Now, they’re trying every trick they can manage to destroy the organization. It sounds like it’s time for everyone to renew their memberships and remind the anti-gun forces that we’re not going anywhere.