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February 10, 2017

4

How to Compete With the NRA

by Anne Paddock

The primary reason the NRA is so successful at keeping guns, rifles, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in so many people’s hands is because they are organized and well-funded. The foundation of the organization is the NRA itself – a non-profit 501 (c) (4) that has a reported 5 million members who pay about $40 annually each.  This is key (a 501 (c) (4) cannot accept tax deductible contributions (although they can accept contributions that are NOT tax deductible) so the NRA focuses on membership).

The NRA holds fundraisers, and is affiliated with four non-profit 501 (c) (3)’s – NRA Foundation, NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund, NRA Special Contributions Fund, NRA Freedom Action Foundation – all of whom can collect tax deductible donations and use these funds to support firearm organizations, educate the public, and provide legal assistance. The NRA is also affiliated with a PAC (NRA Political Victory Fund) which contributes to political organizations and candidates. 

The bottom line is that the NRA and its related organizations raise more than $400 million annually and have more than $100 million in net fund assets. They have a steady source of income (membership and program fees) outside of contributions which are strong but can vary from year to year, and they have a strong cushion to rely on if they have to.

Despite all the mass shootings that occur so often in our country, the NRA won’t give an inch when it comes to any type of gun control because they believe the second amendment – “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” – refers to a person’s unalienable right to bear arms.  If the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 where 20 young children and 6 teachers were killed couldn’t bring the NRA to the table, nothing will short of out performing them.

People who support gun control, background checks, and keeping firearms out of the hands of the dangerous and mentally unstable shooters (primarily males under the age of 50) must organize by consolidating and outperforming the NRA in terms of fundraising. There are dozens of anti-gun non-profits but the “biggest” and most well-known are:

  • Brady Center to End Gun Violence
  • Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
  • Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc.
  • Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Inc.
  • New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
  • Newtown Action Alliance
  • Violence Policy Center
  • Americans for Responsible Solutions
  • States United to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Stop Handgun Violence
  • Independence USA PAC

Most of the above organizations raise less than $1 million a year and have less than a $1 million in net fund assets. The strongest organization is the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. (founded in 2014 by combining Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America) which raised $40.8 million in 2014 and has $5.6 million in net fund assets. Spearheaded by Michael Bloomberg, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. is the closest thing to an adversary there is to the NRA but Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. has a long way to go because they raise about 10% of what the NRA and its affiliate organizations raise annually.

Established as a 501 (c) (4), Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. is the counterpart to the NRA, also a 501 (c) (4). Both can

  • engage in unlimited lobbying as long as the lobbying pertains to their mission;
  • engage in political activity;
  • endorse or oppose political candidates; and
  • donate money and/or time to political organizations.

The people need a well-funded adversary for the NRA and the only way to obtain one is to take the strongest organization – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. – and push it to the next level which means two things:  establish membership in Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. and consolidate the smaller organizations behind Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. as 501 (c) (3)’s.

Membership fees in Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. would provide a steady income stream and bring the members together under a common umbrella to focus on legislation, lobbying, and political candidates while consolidation of the 501 (c) (3)’s would bring focus to the platform where affiliate organizations zero in on specific issues:  education,  programs, legal assistance, and research. Instead of small individual underfunded squadrons fighting a well-funded and equipped army, an army would be fighting an army.

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. should establish membership levels with the goal of growing membership and spreading the word to increase public support for gun control and background checks. Annual memberships could start at $10 (annually) with members provided a bumper sticker and other marketing tools (which are changed annually to keep the membership fresh). A premium membership could be $25 annually followed by multi-year memberships that offer discounts. All levels of membership would be provided various marketing tools to further the message. 1 million members at $10 annually would provide $10 million annually; 5 million members at $25 would provide $125 million, and so on.

There is strength in numbers and the NRA has capitalized and succeeded by raising funds to support their cause and creating specific organizations to focus on all aspects affecting their message. If those of us who want stricter gun control and background checks want to succeed, we need to do the same.

To read more about Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc., go to Everytown.org

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don McDougall
    Feb 10 2017

    You realize you got almost ALL your “facts” about the NRA wrong.

  2. Feb 10 2017

    Really…why don’t you enlighten me since all the facts are based on the IRS Form 990’s submitted to the IRS…

  3. Don McDougall
    Feb 14 2017

    Ok, here goes. The monies raised by their charities CANNOT be used for political purposes. So you GROSSLY over state the amount of resources the NRA has. So while 100% of the anti-gun monies go to politics the NRA is supporting youth shooting, JROTC programs and law enforcement. The NRA also has a growing suicide prevention program. I personally know of a life saved with this program.

    The NRA uses much of their funds to help run and manage 1,100 matches a year across the country.

    One of the reasons the NRA is trusted and popular is they for 100,000,000 gun owners they are far more than a gun lobby. In CA almost 1 MILLION women have been through the women on target program learning to shoot.

    Few join the NRA but all hear our voice and call to action.

    Not ONE of the gun control measures you proposed would have stopped Newtown. Adam Lanza murdered his mother for the express purpose of stealing her guns. He was alone for 11 minuets in a locked room full of children. A baseball bat would have been just as effective.

    For most every tragedy you use as an example you fail to site a law or rule that would have stopped it. As such you fail to be taken seriously. Look at the knife attack as OSU. How many of your fellows called for gun control after a guy uses a car and knife to attack people.

    Oh.. tell me again how a background check would have stopped Pulse? Or San Bernardino?

    Lastly in 1998 the NRA brought a slew of gun safety issues to the congress, trigger locks, completing insta-check…etc. It was shot down by democrats who wanted to use gun control as a wedge issue for the 2000 presidential election. The NRA has never trusted you again.

    There ARE solutions and common ground, but when you are a tool of the DNC and not a real organization they don’t matter now do they. So the REAL question is who are you?

    Thank you for asking.

  4. Feb 14 2017

    First, the 501 (c) (3) charities – NRA Foundation, NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund, NRA Special Contributions Fund, NRA Freedom Action Foundation – are not “their” charities.” They are stand alone non-profits. The NRA – the 501 (c) (4) actually raised more than $300 million last year which CAN be used for political activities. The other $100 million was raised by the 501 (c) (3)’s and the PAC for total of $400 million for all 6 of the organizations. See the IRS Form 990’s submitted to the IRS.

    Second, I do not “grossly overstate the resources the NRA has.” All of the figures come from the IRS Form 990’s which were submitted by the organizations to the IRS. If you don’t understand how to read a 990, maybe you can ask someone to explain the numbers to you. If you are saying the NRA and the 501 (c) (3)’s and the PAC submitted false information, then you need to take that up with them but I think the issue here is that you either did not read the 990’s or didn’t understand them.

    Third, your statement of …”100% of the anti-gun monies go to politics” is false. If you make a general statement regarding monies, support your statement with numbers.

    Fourth, your statement ” NRA uses much of their funds to help run and manage 1,100 matches a year ” is absolutely false. Again, see the IRS Form 990’s which will show you that the program expenses of these programs do not use much of their funds.

    Fifth, your statement that “Few join the NRA but all hear our voice and call to action” is again false. According to the NRA, there are more than 5 million members. I don’t call that a few. And, I hate to break it to you that “all” of us (320 million in the USA) don’t hear their voice and call to action.

    Sixth, your statement of “Not ONE of the gun control measures you proposed would have stopped Newtown. Adam Lanza murdered his mother for the express purpose of stealing her guns. He was alone for 11 minuets in a locked room full of children. A baseball bat would have been just as effective” is again false. If you look at the statistics regarding gun deaths in countries,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    the countries with the most strict gun laws (that allow less people to have guns) have less deaths by gun. Adam Lanza DID NOT murder his mother for the express purpose of stealing her guns. His mother was a middle aged woman asleep when she was shot by her adult son, Adam. Adam Lanza was not in one room full of children for 11 minutes and I will disagree with you that a baseball bat would have been just as effective. Shooting 5-6 bullets into each child’s body actually took seconds with the high capacity magazines he used although I’m sure it felt like eternity to those kids.

    Seventh, as for your knife statement, please don’t tell me that you’re trying to argue that knifes are the equivalency of guns. That debate was lost a long time ago.

    Eighth, I am not an organization that you refer to as DNC. I think you’re mixing up your pronouns.

    Ninth, Whose the tool, Don? Sounds like you’re the classic tool of the NRA. Do yourself a favor and read the IRS Form 990’s of the organizations if you want to be taken seriously and before you try to argue about numbers that you aren’t familiar with.

    Tenth, So, if you think the real question is “who am I” then you’ve missed the whole point of the post. Please re-read and you may want to focus on the title to start.

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