The NRA doesn’t want you to be considered a member, because you may have crazy views of guns

The NRA only claims to have 5 million members, but that's not Pew says they have more. What gives?

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 12, 2017 12:28PM (EDT)

 (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
(AP/Damian Dovarganes)

You would think that the NRA would be thrilled at a poll that claims they have roughly 14 million members. And they are — kind of.

"Pew’s recent survey on firearm-related attitudes and experiences of U.S. adults found — based on the percentage saying 'yes' to the question about whether they are NRA members — that more than 14 million Americans consider themselves NRA members," the NRA wrote in a recent newsletter.

That's consistent with the Pew Research Center's recent report, which claimed that "three in 10 U.S. adults say they currently own a gun, and of that group, 19 percent say they belong to the National Rifle Association."

But the NRA isn't fully embracing Pew's findings, perhaps because some of them paint an unflattering portrait of the individuals in their organization. It found, among other things, that "NRA members skew even more heavily to the political right than other gun owners," that "gun owners who say they belong to the NRA tend to own more guns, on average, than gun owners who don’t belong to the NRA" and that "about half (52 percent) of Republican gun owners who belong to the NRA, for instance, say gun laws in the U.S. should be less strict than they are now; 33 percent of Republican gun owners who don’t belong to the NRA share this view."

From the NRA's perspective, "Pew did not actually survey NRA members.  Any views, beliefs, or opinions they ascribe to 'NRA members' is a simple guess on their part.

They added, "Pew does not know what percentage of NRA members support one law or another, how many guns they own, or anything else for that matter. At best, they can claim to have the responses of Americans who SAY they are NRA members, but they certainly cannot say much beyond that."

Of course, it's a bit strange that the NRA would try to distance itself from political positions that could be perceived as excessively radical. Last month it released a controversial ad in which right-wing commentator Dana Loesch said that liberals "use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again… and then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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