Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.
TheÂ NRAÂ is losing membership fees, and itâs running up huge deficits as a result. These grim findings, based on an auditÂ obtainedÂ by OpenSecrets, raise doubts about the long-term prospects of the radical gun lobbying group.
âThe document offers the first look at the NRAâs finances in the wake of the 2016 elections,â OpenSecrets reports. âIt shows that for the last two years, the NRA saw plummeting income from dues-paying members, and that has, in turn, fueled growing deficits.â
Specifically, the NRA ran up aÂ $14 millionÂ deficit in 2016, which then ballooned toÂ $31 millionÂ in 2017. Thatâs a stunning reversal from 2015, when the NRA posted $27 million in positive assets.
The NRAâs financial woes are partly fueled by its shrinking membership.
Revenue from dues fell from $163 million in 2016 to $128 million last year. Membership dues also dipped in 2016 compared to 2015, marking the first time in nearly a decade that the group suffered back-to-back years of declines.
For years, the NRA has boasted that it has 5 million members. But that claimÂ has neverÂ been independently verified.
The NRA also broke the bank in 2016 on behalf of the GOP, spending $54 million to boost Republican campaigns. Of that, $32 million went to help Trump win the White House.
âThe NRAâs massive 2016 push was part of what ultimately became a $100 million spike in the groupâs outlays between 2015 and 2016,â according to OpenSecrets.
Now, however, the coffers are depleted.
The gun industry, which the NRA represents, is also suffering hugeÂ sales lossesÂ in the Trump era. Traditionally, gun sales soar when there is a Democrat in the White House because the NRA and its allies in the right-wing press gin up hysteria about gun ownership being outlawed.
But without that artificial panic, gun sales have plummeted.
This summer, the NRAÂ warnedÂ that it might have to shut down its media outlets, which include NRA TV and print publications.
Thanks to its newly shaky finances, the NRA has also had to drastically cut back on its political spending in this yearâs midterm election cycle.
That could be very bad news for Republicans â many of whom rely heavily on the NRAâs outside spending to support them, and many of whom are facing tough re-election fights against energized Democrats.
So far this season, the NRA has committed to spend just $3 million to help Republicans. Thatâs down from $19 million in 2016, and $11 million in 2014 at this same juncture in the midterm election cycle.
The NRA sells pro-gun extremism, and fewer and fewer Americans are buying it.
Published with permission of The American Independent.