Here is a chart released to the board:
As nearly as I can measure, membership in 2018 (before the scandals hit) was at 5.5 million, which was being announced as the number. It thereafter fell, and by 2021 was at 4.4 million; over a million members had bailed out.
The numbers are continuing to fall. Magazines must post their circulation numbers, and we can take figures for The American Rifleman, NRA’s flagship magazine, as an indicator of membership trends. The numbers are published in the October issue. I couldn’t find October 2018, but in October 2016 TAR circulated 2.1 million copies; in October 2020, 1.74 million, and in October 2021 1.65 million.
The 2021 figures also show that 1.65 million as the average of the preceding 12 months. The circulation of the most recent issue was only 1.60 million, so the slide is continuing, 50,000 more have unsubscribed recently. We can also get detailed recent figures from this website. Totaling the circulation of all four NRA magazines, subscriptions fell between January and June of this year by 74,684, from 3.731 million to 3.656 million. There is no sign of the loss in subscriptions and membership ending; it has been continuous from 2018 to 2021. (BTW, no one can figure out how to reconcile a reported 4.4 million members with 3.6 million subscriptions. More subscriptions than members would make sense, some subscribe to more than one magazine, but fewer subscriptions than members makes no sense at all, but it’s been that way for years.)
A loss of 1.1 million members means a loss of nearly $50 million in dues income. A loss of another 74,682 in the first half of 2021 means a loss of another $3 million.
What is the membership being told? From the most recent President’s column in the official publications, “Through it all, you, the members, have not wavered — we are still at five million strong and our Association is financially sound.” We haven’t been at five million in three years, and they can’t even repair the headquarters roof. The leadership knows that, but thinks the members will swallow anything they tell them.