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NRA influence could decay as financial challenges compound

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Three days after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 21 dead, attendance was down at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, Texas. The expected number of attendees was 55,000, according to organizers before the event. The last time the NRA annual convention was held in Texas, 86,000 people reportedly attended.

The organization is also seeing a decline in membership, which came to light in an internal document obtained by The Reload. According to the report, the NRA had fewer than 4,750,000 members in 2021 and more than 5,000,000 in 2018. The steady decline in membership correlates with the decrease in revenue. According to CBS, revenue was down 23 percent between 2016 and 2020.

 

SHANNON LONGWORTH: AFTER EACH WIDELY COVERED MASS SHOOTING, POLITICIANS–AND THE WHITE HOUSE–FOLLOW A SCRIPT:

TED CRUZ: ULTIMATELY, AS WE ALL KNOW, WHAT STOPS ARMED BAD GUYS IS ARMED GOOD, GUYS.”

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: “IT’S SHAMEFUL THAT THE NRA AND THEIR ALLIES HAVE STOOD IN THE WAY OF EVERY ATTEMPT TO ADVANCE MEASURES THAT WE ALL KNOW WILL SAVE LIVES FROM GUN VIOLENCE…”

LONGWORTH: 

DEMOCRATS POINT TO THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION, UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT IT STANDS IN THE WAY OF GUN CONTROL. ALL BECAUSE, THEY SAY, THE NRA HAS REPUBLICANS WRAPPED AROUND ITS FINGER.

JOE BIDEN: “YOU KNOW, WHERE’S THE BACKBONE? WHERE’S THE COURAGE TO STAND UP TO A VERY POWERFUL LOBBY?”

LONGWORTH: BUT–HOLD ON–THE NRA TRIED TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY IN 2021.

SO, IS IT REALLY MONEY THAT MAKES THE NRA POWERFUL? AND, IS ITS INFLUENCE WANING?

WE HAVE DATA FOR THE 2020 ELECTION FROM OPEN SECRETS–A NONPARTISAN ORGANIZATION TRACKING MONEY IN POLITICS.

IT SAYS THE NRA ONLY SPENT ABOUT 5.4 MILLION DOLLARS IN LOBBYING THAT CYCLE. IN 2016, IT’D SPENT MORE THAN 6.7 MILLION.

WHEN IT COMES TO “OUTSIDE SPENDING”–THINK: SUPER PACS AND DARK MONEY–THE NRA *DID* USE MORE THAN 29 MILLION, BUT THAT’S NOT EVEN HALF THE AMOUNT IT SPENT IN 2016.

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY, THE ANSWER’S SIMPLE. THE NRA IS SPENDING LESS MONEY ON CANDIDATES AND POLICY-PUSHING—LIKELY BECAUSE IT’S MAKING LESS MONEY.

REVENUE WAS DOWN BY 23 PERCENT BETWEEN 2016 AND 2020, ACCORDING TO CBS.

AND BECAUSE THE NRA MAKES MONEY FROM ITS MEMBERS, WE LOOK TO THOSE NUMBERS.

INTERNAL DOCUMENTS LEAKED TO THE RELOAD SHOW MEMBERSHIP HAS BEEN SHRINKING SINCE 2018.

KEEP IN MIND, LEGAL FEES APPLIED EVEN MORE PRESSURE AFTER THE NY  AND DC ATTORNEY GENERALS SUED THE ORGANIZATION OVER ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND ABUSE.

THE GROUP’S EVEN ATTEMPTED TO MOVE FROM NEW YORK TO TEXAS.

ALSO, THERE WAS ALSO A COUP TO OVERTHROW CEO WAYNE LAPIERRE AROUND THE SAME TIME.

SO, THE NRA, WITH A CENTURY AND A HALF OF HISTORY, APPEARS TO BE LOSING ITS FINANCIAL INFLUENCE.

BUT IT STILL HAS SOME CLOUT.

THAT LEVERAGE LIES IN ITS DEEPLY ROOTED SUPPORT AND THE MASS VOTING POWER THAT COMES WITH IT. IF A POLITICIAN WAVERS ON ARMS POLICY, HIS NRA RATING COULD EASILY CHANGE, AND HIS POSITION IS AT RISK.

YET, THE VOTING POWER COULD EVENTUALLY DIMINISH, TOO–ALONG WITH THE MONEY–IF THE GROUP CUTS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS–WHICH IT REPORTEDLY ALREADY HAS, IN THE WAKE OF THIS YEAR’S CONVENTION.

THOSE PROGRAMS HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN PRIMING FUTURE SUPPORTERS AND REINFORCING THE NEED FOR SAFE, RESPONSIBLE FIREARM USE AS OPPOSED TO GUN CONTROL.

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Three days after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 21 dead, attendance was down at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, Texas. The expected number of attendees was 55,000, according to organizers before the event. The last time the NRA annual convention was held in Texas, 86,000 people reportedly attended.

The organization is also seeing a decline in membership, which came to light in an internal document obtained by The Reload. According to the report, the NRA had fewer than 4,750,000 members in 2021 and more than 5,000,000 in 2018. The steady decline in membership correlates with the decrease in revenue. According to CBS, revenue was down 23 percent between 2016 and 2020.

 

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