The NRA has been under heavy attack ever since the Parkland, FL school shooting on Feb. 14 of this year. David Hogg, a student at the school on the day of the shooting, has accused the NRA of owning politicians such as Marco Rubio. He also accused the NRA of caring only for the interests of the gun manufacturers, even with the blood of children splattered on its face. He took his crusade to the members of the NRA, asking if they really feel that the group’s leaders represented them well, clearly believing that is not the case.
In fact, some media outlets seized onto a 2017 Politico poll that found 67% of gun owners believed that the NRA’s mission had become prioritizing the interests of gun manufacturers and lobbyists over the interests of gun owners and gun safety. This article even went so far as to state that “Gun owners are not all unified behind the NRA, and Hogg’s comments hit the organization right in its weak spot. The NRA is reeling. They can’t win a fight with children.”
It would seem, based on the hyperbolic rhetoric from Hogg and the left, that the end must be nigh for the NRA. And yet, the facts do not support such an idea. In January, before the Parkland shooting occurred, the NRA took in $248,000 in donations. The shooting happened mid-way through February, on the 14th, and the fundraising tally for February tripled January’s total, bringing in $779,000.
Still, NRA members were just getting started. Despite the Second Amendment itself stating that no laws may infringe upon it, NRA members have been feeling the heat from Hogg and the left to enact new laws that do just that. Therefore, in March of 2018, the NRA broke a 15-year fundraising record, taking in $2.4 million in one month alone. To be clear, that is as far back as the FEC holds electronic records of fundraising totals, so the record may in fact be much longer than 15 years. The total nearly doubles the previous highest month, set after the Newtown school shooting five years before.
To the point that Hogg and the left were attempting to make, that the NRA has lost the support of gun owners, $1.9 million of the March total came from individuals donating $200 or less. Clearly the people have spoken, and the NRA does in fact speak for them and represent them and their interests.
Conversely, in the same time period, Everytown for Gun Safety raised only $13,580, and Gabrielle Gifford’s PAC raised $129,589. Between Feb 18 and the end of March, the March For Our Lives GoFundMe campaign raised $3.5 million, but that money was not to help lobby for gun control measures; it was spent instead on funding the march and helping victim’s families. The left, judging by where they are spending their money (or not), seems more interested in calling for change than in actually taking action for change, unlike the gun owners.
Gun owners have made a clear statement to Hogg and the rest of the left who thought that the relationship between the NRA and gun owners was fracturing, and sought to drive a deeper wedge between them: the NRA speaks for us, and we will not sit by and let you infringe on our Constitutional rights. They have let their checkbooks speak. It seems the harder the left tries to marginalize the NRA, the stronger the NRA’s position becomes.