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Friday, June 21, 2024

National Rifle Association padding membership claims while hiding losses

Embattled NRA leader Wayne LaPierre (Getty)
Embattled NRA leader Wayne LaPierre (Getty)

Insiders at the embattled National Rifle Association say the organization is padding its claims of recent increases in membership and say more members are leaving amid criticisms over strident positions taken by controversial leader Wayne LaPierre.

“In reality, our membership is probably dropping,” says one embittered NRA staffer, who asked not to be identified.  “It’s hard to say because our membership department is always playing games with the numbers.”

Capitol Hill Blue has received several hundred emails from persons who identify themselves as “former NRA members” who have left the organization in protests over the group’s hard-core positions following the increase in gun violence in schools.

Another member who quit is Capitol Hill Blue founder and publisher Doug Thompson, who dropped his life membership in the organization and called LaPierre an “out of control egomaniac whose uncompromising positions are damaging the image of law-abiding gun owners in America.”

Thompson joins former Congressman and current MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough in condemning LaPierre and current NRA tactics.  The Capitol Hill Blue publisher served on Capitol Hill from 1981-1987 as a congressional chief of staff and committee staffer for members of Congress endorsed by NRA, including former Congressman and later interior secretary Manuel Lujan, and worked with a number of NRA lobbyists.

“Unfortunately, NRA — like Congress — is controlled by extremists who answer not to ordinary Americans but to an industry that is more concerned with making money at any cost — even the lives of innocent Americans,” Thompson said.

After leaving Capitol Hill, Thompson served as the senior communications associate for The Eddie Mahe Company, a Washington-based political and business firm which served as a consultant for the American Shooting Sports Council, a gun-industry group headed by former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman and fronted mostly by gun industry giant Glock.

ASSC operated out of Atlanta and, while claiming to be an organization of gun owners, was in fact a front for the industry.  ASSC, Feldman once bragged, is “as pro-gun as our customers.”

ASSC, which claimed 17,000 members, later admitted most of its membership list were gun manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers.

“It’ an old trick,” Thompson said.  “Set up an organization that claims to be driven by individuals but is in fact controlled by an industry.  Like NRA, ASSC served business, not people.”

Scarborough agrees, calling NRA a mouthpiece for a gun industry more concerned with money than safety.  While serving in Congress, Scarborough received an A-plus rating from the gun organization.

Scarborough calls a recent op-ed by LaPierre “racially-tinged” and faults claims made by the NRA leader of “widespread violence” in South Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy.

LaPierre said crime was up after the Hurricane hit and also claimed that more guns in the hands of citizens would have prevented what he called a “hellish world” of violence.

In fact, says New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne, crime went down.

“It was hardly hell week,” Browne says. “There were no murders, no shootings, no rape.”

Citizens of the area were even more outspoken.

“He’s a f—-king idiot,” says Steven Feinstein, owner of Wilensky Hardware in Coney Island, when asked about LaPierre’s claims.  “His claims were nonsense.”

Capitol Hill Blue has learned that dissension is growing within NRA ranks and, as a result, public appearances by NRA leader LaPierre have been limited while the board deals with the internal dissent and member defections.

A number of current and former NRA employees say claims of a 20 percent increase in membership in recent months are “patently false” and say any increase is offset by a loss of members who are unhappy with the organization.

The trade organization is also spending more than it has taking in, piling up recent losses.  A non-exempt tax return filed for 2010 shows the group lost $15 million that year.

Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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9 thoughts on “National Rifle Association padding membership claims while hiding losses”

  1. Fact is the NRA and its operatives are reacting to US gun tragedies by employing a tried and true strategy and that is race baiting, fear mongering and subversive innuendo in an attempt to halt any proposed gun control laws on white men like themselves.

    By attempting to change the focus of this nations gun tragedies and any gun debate the sick minds of the NRA and its operatives hope to shift US lawmakers’ attention onto America’s minorities who live in urban areas in a classic case of scapegoating. The NRA has indeed become a disgusting association of scum bags!

    • If you could cite any statements to back up your “facts” I assume you would have?

      Your post is the first racist statement I’ve read on the gun control issue. The mirror never lies.

      I don’t agree with the NRA on a number of issues, but racist attacks like from Bill above have no place in civil discourse.

  2. Here is a link to the crime LaPierre referenced. I’d cite the individual articles, but we are only allowed one link per post.

    HuffPo: Hurricane Sandy Looting, Fights Plague South Brooklyn

    Fox News: Price gouging, looting and rage: Superstorm Sandy brings out the worst in some

    NY Daily News: Queens residents arm themselves in the post-storm blackout from looters

    We know looting occurred and police were warning people not to stay out after dark for fear of being robbed, but it is very hard to find any reports of the amount of looting and lawlessness.

    If one looks close, one can also see the NY Daily News article originally published February 14th by Corky Siemaszko and others that Mr. Dawkins failed to cite as the source of most of his quotes for this article.

    My favorite paragraph from that article:

    City officials dismissed that claim as more NRA nonsense and said there were plenty of armed National Guardsmen in the city in the aftermath of Sandy.

    See the doublethink? Guns can’t protect you, yet it takes ARMED National Guardsmen to protect you. SIGH…

    Take the time to read the comments at the bottom of that article as well. My favs:

    Hmmm, well I guess the pictures of the homeowner with the assault weapon and machette and the Headline “I will shoot you” and the Big Signs on the front lawns that read “Looters Beware” were figments of the newspaper readers imaginations……..

    “There was a cop on every corner.”

    His store was looted.

    Your store must be pretty far from the corner.

    Aren’t you supposed to be a NY Newspaper and you don’t know businesses were Looted in Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy?
    Residents in South Beach Staten Island couldn’t leave their homes to go to Aid Centers for supplies because Roving Bands of Thugs from the projects were Looting their empty homes. In Far Rockaway looting was also taking place until residents guarded their property with their legal firearms. Don’t Try to use “revisionist ” history to change the facts.

    Can’t make this stuff up!

  3. My father in law is a proud new member. He displays his magnet on his SUV. Lives in town and has never hunted in 32 years of me knowing him. I worked nights years ago and my wife thought she heard something so she called him. He gets out of his car shooting his pistol in the air. On Christmas day he pulls his pistol out waving it every which way with the whole family in the room and bragging what he would do if someone came up on his deck.

  4. A number of comments containing obscenities have been flagged as spam and deleted. Debate the issue with facts, not cuss words.

    • I would like to add to my above post that I have been a game hunter for over fifty years and remember when the NRA stood for conservation and marksmanship but the fact is since the late 1970’s the NRA has undergone a sickness of greed and power now controlled by the gun manufactures.

      The NRA continually preaches to their member’s ad-nauseum that their Second Amendment rights are being taken away. What nonsense. The day has come where the true nature of this extremist group has been shown as they truly are and that is to say worthless scum!

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