This argument comes up as a throwaway line when dealing with anti-gun zealots. As always, let’s remember:
“The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”
The NRA is a registered non-profit, specifically a 501(c)(4) (Tax ID#: 53-0116130). In order to keep their non-profit status, they have to file IRS Form 990s yearly, which are available for public inspection.
Here’s the NRA’s Form 990 for 2010: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/408985/nra-c4-2010-2.pdf
The breakdown of where their money comes from is on page 9.
- $100 million in dues.
- $7 million in program fees (NRA matches, etc)
- $12 million in fundraising (various sources)
- $58 million in contributions, gifts, grants, including programs like MidwayUSA’s “Round up” program which again from from individuals.
- $12 million from investments & royalties
- $2.5 million from sales of assets
- $11 million in gross inventory sales (hats, wine I guess?)
Finally, at the bottom, there’s $20 million in advertising
So there’s $20 million in advertising dollars. $2-6 million in direct contributions from manufacturers (See NRA Ring of Freedom). Compared to $200+ million in money directly from members, end users, and individuals buying NRA gear.
If someone is going to make the claim that manufacturers run the NRA, ask them for the figures. Make them show their math.