NRA Membership, Finances Continue To Decline

In 2021, the pro-gun website The Reload posted on NRA’s finances for that year, and it was grim. Revenue had dropped sharply, while legal expenses were exploding, rising to $31 million, or 20% of NRA’s entire budget.

Things have no improved; they have probably declined, since then. The organization only occasionally mentions its membership numbers, and then only when they hit a new high point, as they haven’t in 4 years. We can probably estimate them by subscriptions to the NRA magazines, especially the flagship The American Rifleman.

TAR circulation seems to have peaked at 2.2 million in 2016, when we still had our chief fundraiser, Mr. Obama. After he left us, we had the usual decline in membership, and subscriptions fell to about 2 million.

Last year it was 1.6 million.

The most recent figure (1st half of 2022) is just under 1.5 million.

This indicates a 33% drop in subscriptions and likely in NRA membership since the peak. The decline is not reversing but continuing. The members haven’t forgotten and re-joined.

The impact on finances will be even more profound, since upwards of half the total (we’ve heard 60%) are life members. There have been proposals over the last 30 years to set aside life member dues in a special fund, but nothing has ever been done, so their dues are treated as ordinary revenue. The dues of a life member who joined in 2000 were spent in the year 2000. Now in 2022, he still gets his magazine, but it’s paid for out of the dues of annual members in 2022.

The 33% drop in membership comes among the two million or so annual members, which means their membership, and dues, have probably fallen by over 50%, and maybe as much as 60% NRA’s dues revenue must be going into basement, and there’s no hope for that changing. The Association may be looking at a real bankruptcy in the near future. Just because the board of directors won’t direct, but just sits there as passive spectators to their organization’s disaster.

8 thoughts on “NRA Membership, Finances Continue To Decline

    1. Never going to happen. Anthony Colandro ran on turning over the executives and when he got elected he fit right into sucking from the teat.

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  1. My membership expires next year and will NOT be renewed, unless there’s a complete and total revamping of the leadership. Especially WLP.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Long time life member here. I won’t donate a penny to them again until not only Wayne and Co are gone, but the board has cleaned house as well. Which means it might be never.

    What good does it do to get new leadership if the same BOD is there to let it all go to hell again?

    At any rate, as long as we know that any money we donate is probably going to be used to line the pockets of lawyers to support Wayne and Co rather than to actually support our gun rights, I’d expect to see contributions continue to drop.

    Even the most loyal supporters are beginning to admit that right now, the NRA is not a good investment.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My contributions haven’t dropped, they’ve stopped. If only we could clean out the board of directors and replace them with people with the integrity to kick out Wayne and company. Until that happens I’ll keep donating to Gun Owners of America and keep hoping Wayne LaPierre will be fired.

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  4. Its good that other pro groups are picking up the slack and running with it (GOA and …) . Dems heads are spinning, in the end we could end up being stronger than before and can handle a multi-front push back.

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