A weakened weapons lobby, but still a formidable influence on the NRA

The NRA T-shirt on display at the annual Gun Lobby Rally on May 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas.
NRA T-shirt (JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP) exhibited at the annual Gun Lobby Rally held in Houston, Texas on May 5, 2013.

The National Rifle Association, held Friday in Houston, has been accused of being the first gun lobbying activity in the United States and blocking major legislative advances restricting Americans’ access to firearms. Despite being weakened by recent cases, such as Tuesday’s Yuvarde, which were strongly criticized by Democrats for each murder, he retains a formidable influence on elected civil servants.


Two civil war veterans formed the National Rifle Association in 1871 and were shocked by the lack of shooting ability of the soldiers. The main purpose of this club is to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.”

The true political turning point of NRA came in 1975. “Recognizing the significant need for political defense in Article 2 of the Constitutional Amendment, the NRA has established the Institute for Legislative Measures,” said the organization’s website.

The NRA will then turn into a political lobbying machine to defend a second amendment that allows possession of firearms in the United States. Constitutional rights dating back to 1791, leaving plenty of room for interpretation.

Members and means of action

NRA claims more than 5 million members without providing a list, and in addition to lobbying, it offers training courses, organizes hunters, publishes magazines, raises funds, broadcasts its own show TV, and more. Is engaged in various activities such as opening a museum. Headquarters in Virginia.

The organization also assigns candidates and members of parliament grades from A (highest grade) to F based on their position with respect to the weapon.

With a history of 150 years, the organization will spend about $ 250 million in 2020 and, despite the recent recession, retains dominant influence over elected civil servants, including the US Congress. I am.

From 2000 to 2012, NRA and small arms makers paid $ 80 million to influence the Senate, House and White House elections.

For example, in the 2016 presidential election, the NRA spent $ 20 million on a negative publicity campaign against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and $ 10 million in favor of Republican rival Donald Trump.

Manufacturer’s ally

NRA plays an important role for firearm manufacturers. According to official data that counts kits and untraceable weapons, the industry has produced 139 million weapons in the 20 years since 2000, of which 11.3 million will be produced in 2020 alone. increase.

At the same time, firearms kill tens of millions of people each year in the United States. For example, in 2020, the country recorded 19,350 gunshot murders and 24,245 firearm suicides.

A declining organization?

The last three years have been confusing for NRA, especially in terms of justice.

The organization was particularly weakened by the fierce power struggle that headed the organization, and Wayne LaPierre fought the controversial former officer Oliver North.

According to CBS, NRA revenues fell 23% between 2016 and 2020. According to other sources, membership is declining, with Lapierre admitting “less than 4.9 million” numbers in court testimony records.

The powerful boss was also the target of a very embarrassing unpacking, with internal documents leaked, accused of extravagant spending, and suspected misuse of corporate assets.

Following complaints filed in June 2020, the gun lobby has been primarily the target of financial fraud proceedings. The ongoing investigation is led by New York lawyer Leticia James. Organization as it wants.