Gun-Fluffer-Nutter: NRA Accused Of Inflating Membership With Zombies, Freebies

 The National Rifle Association may be taking abeating in  the public opinion polls since they began their post-Newtown offensive, but to hear the organization tell it, the tragedy has swelled their ranks , from 4.25 million to 4.5 million since the tragic mass shooting. While mainstream news organizations dutifully report  the NRA‘s unverified figures, Mother Jones‘ Josh Harkinsonlays out a compelling case that  the organization is, shockingly, overcompensating to the tune of about a million members by, among other things, continuing to count dead members.

You can draw a bright, straight line from the NRA’s clanging response to the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and their current slide in public opinion. This isn’t just some generalized wave of anti-gun feeling; six days after the shooting, and the day before Wayne LaPierre’s press conference, Public Policy Polling showed the organization with a positive favorability rating, 48 to 41. A few weeks later, the same poll had them at 42% favorable, vs. 45% unfavorable, and more recently, an ABC News/Washington Post poll  has them at just 36% favorable, to 44% unfavorable.

The mainstream media, and the NRA, would like you to believe that those numbers are somehow counteracted by a “surge” of 250,000 in memberships to the organization, a number for which they provide no verification. Even if they did, however, reporting on this surge gives the misleading impression that there’s some parity in Americans’ reactions to the NRA’s post-Newtown actions, or even that the NRA is gaining in support. The fact is that, if you apply the polling numbers to the entire adult population, the NRA has lost the support of 28 million Americans since Wayne LaPierre began opening his mouth after the shootings, while the 250,000 members it claims to have gained represents one tenth of one percent of American adults.

According to Harkinson, though, there are compelling (some more than others) reasons  to be skeptical of anything the NRA says about its membership numbers. He points to wild variances in published reporting of the group’s total membership, with gaps of up to two-and-a-half million in a matter of months:

Writing in 2000, when the NRA claimed to have 3.6 million members, journalist Osha Gray Davidson  speculated on some of the group’s strategies for fluffing itself up:

Two years ago, David Gross, then an NRA board member, confided to me that a substantial number of the group’s 1 million Life Members are, well, dead. “There just isn’t that much incentive to go find out when someone passes away,” Gross explained. “Not when the cost of maintaining (a dead member) is minimal and when they add to your membership list.”

Who else is included in that figure of 3.6 million? I may be—although I haven’t been a member for years. Not long ago, I received an NRA form letter stating that in recognition of my previous commitment to the Second Amendment, the gun group had granted me an honorary membership. The mailing even included an NRA membership card embossed with my name.

The most damning piece of circumstantial evidence that the NRA is fluffing itself by over a million members, ironically, derives from the few magazines the NRA is willing to keep tabs on :

The NRA gives members a free subscription  to one of four magazines: American RiflemanAmerican HunterAmerica’s 1st Freedom, or NRA InSights. The first three magazines are audited by the Alliance for Audited Media , which as of July gave them a combined paid circulation (including newsstand sales) of 3.1 million. NRA InSightsis an online-only magazine for kids, with a circulation of 25,000 . Though some NRA members may opt out of a free magazine, it’s likely that others pay to subscribe to more than one of them. Add in the fact that non-NRA members can pick up the magazines on the newsstand, and the 3.1 million figure is almost certainly an upper-bound for the NRA’s true size.

If you aren’t convinced, consider that, as of Spring, 2012, the NRA itself could only boast  an email list of two million members. Whether the other 2 million are dead, or freebies, or just Luddites, that self-admitted figure seriously undercuts the impression that people have of the NRA’s ability to reach people at a grassroots level.

The NRA has a vested interest in creating the impression that it speaks for 4.5 million Americans (still just a tiny fraction of the population, much smaller than the 28 million who represent their drop in favorability), but mainstream media organizations should not. Creating the impression of balance between the NRA and everyone else makes the story more dramatic, and perhaps inoculates against shrieks of “bias,” but it does not serve the public interest. If they’re going to swallow what the NRA is spoon-feeding them, journalists need to accurately reflect the numbers on the other side, in the same breath.

Tommy Christopher | 9:35 am, January 18th, 2013»

Gun-Fluffer-Nutter: NRA Accused Of Inflating Membership With Zombies, Freebies


2 thoughts on “Gun-Fluffer-Nutter: NRA Accused Of Inflating Membership With Zombies, Freebies

  1. agree. NRA numbers actually don’t mean anything in this case, bc most people who easily obtain guns in this country are by far are majority of red-neck uneducated rough around the edges, vulgar, loony-tunes- not all ! but a big portion. sorry, but that’s how i see it.

    just to share, yesterday i was discussing this gun control w a russian-german-american (in that order lol from him moving) and he made the observation that in Switzerland any person could purchase any type of gun they wanted. Which then reminded me of a bickering i had had w this swiss girl too on twitter who adamantly said that it was her inherent so-called “right” for self-defense.

    So i raised two issues w my russian friend. 1) Switzerland is not as diverse as the USA. i compared our ethnic blend to the diverse one in Singapore. Though i’d not be in favor of strict punishments if there were other less harmful ways to solve the problem. But herein lies the problem,
    2) Switzerland in my opinion, overall has a higher income per capita, which sadly or not, is tied in with education and the more educated seem on average (perhaps w some peppering of exceptions) people who have what they need including basics such as health insurance and the have-nots are taken care of, so those have nots do not feel compelled to resort to stealing out of desperation nor turning towards drugs, generally speaking!

    And i mentioned to him another example of an asian society which is one of the safest places on earth where i lived and left keys in car ignition and never locked house door and people who let their children as young as 5 walk home alone to and from school. where i only saw one cop car in the 3 years i was there. no guns allowed and minus the political yakuza (which is a problem) but it’s separate from everyday civilian living. and i pondered over these societies.

    in my view if both parents work and a child is brought up with insufficient guidance of either loving parent the child will inevitably will adopt the to the the influence of his surroundings, whether that be from other rowdy kids in a similar situation at a child care and their formation will not be optimal. This unfortunately in the united states compounded with the diverse cultural backgrounds has only encouraged bad character traits to emerge in many children because of a generational carry-over. the parents whom already grew up that way, even wealthy ones, do not find the need to have a trusted caretaker and both greedily work only to overconsumes when if they carefully planned out their budget maybe in the PAST – not necessarily now due to the economic downturn -one parent could have had a chance to raise children themselves. there are solutions for overcoming these barriers without huge amounts of money, if parents can get together and help each other out maybe through a meetup for example.

    this sadly, as mentioned, has carried over generationally, and so has the individualistic, selfish, anti-social mentality of video games and lack of peer interaction and getting along will little, and playing with others ball outside, riding bicycles, hiding seek, board games. all these things foster cohesiveness for the child. Instead, as crime has dropped significantly, ppl sit in front of tvs. both susceptible children and adults the like, proportionally to their lack of income watch hours on end of shows which have become each time more decadent and violent- not to say that japanese don’t have violent shows, but they have the buffer of a caring parental upbringing and spend each day eating together as a family.

    my take is that it will be a very hard problem to correct in the USA due to parents already brain-washed in a system in which they don’t see what is wrong with what they are doing and prefer to blame THINGS over the intangible values that are supposed to be inculcated. We unfortunately are a country which has perpetuated wars based on assumptions in some cases and without congressional approval only for reasons of greed, as i see it. you can disagree w me if you like but nothing is in essence all black or all white (and either color meaning good or bad) just as in every person there are seeds of ignorance and of knowledge.

    if we cannot correct a long standing problem bc some people refuse to introspect and are caught-up by the outer world of materialism and cannot put other people first as they do in japan for example, nor behave in a polite manner and observe proper etiquette- then that means that a major editing must be done to turn ppl 180 degrees if we are to change as a society as whole.

    To those few who uphold family values, whether gay family, interracial family, you name it- and figure out a plan- having an accordion family help each other out , those people are doing great and have nothing to do with this, whether traditional families, or even non-believers w a strong secular ethic neither have any thing to do with this.

    But them being in such a minority, only compels me to think that if we are to see a radical change, i cannot think of anything else but enforcing stricter punishments as in Singapore. I’d rather this not happen, mind you, but how on earth are we to bring a huge population together if their values or lack thereof will not foster a sense of safety? How else? any ideas? This is where i’d appreciate your input because i am not overly comfortable with this solution. Yet i don’t know what else could be done.

    A more extreme example would be how does one reform an insurgent (formerly known as the self deprecating term “terrorist”) when they have been brain-washed to hate. everything is proportional to time.

    some food for thought… what stops one person from committing a crime, or minor violation is not the same reason for all. Some people who don’t have a strong ethical and moral system, unfortunately need a law to stop them from committing a crime. And they break it a lot bc they have still no observance of the law. then what next. Correction and punishment. And no amount of money, or fame should ‘buy onself’ out of any crime.

    if my child stole a candy bar and the judge ordered community service at the recycling center, and i had the option to pay up to avoid that, by G-d i wouldn’t. she would have to go there and learn to pay the for the consequences of her actions.

    and that is tough love. nipping it at the BUD.



    1. Thanks for your comment. The answer is so obvious and you see all these right wing nuts with their lies and fascist tendencies. The US Constitution was not written for this crap. It was written to speak about the military in the states that belong to the USA. The USA needs comprehensive gun control today.

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