NRA Says Membership Has Increased Since the Newtown Shootings

Alexander Abad-Santos
NRA Says Membership Has Increased Since the Newtown Shootings

You would think, after a 20-year-old with legal guns killed 20 first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut, that the National Rifle Association wouldn't be doing too well — what with the initial outcry over its silence and the ensuing outcry over the gun lobby's brief statement late Tuesday. But you would be wrong. Fox News's James Rosen, who first reported on leaks of the NRA's intentions early Tuesday, is now citing sources saying that membership is, in fact, up since Friday's massacre, and rising. Here's his brief post over at Greta Van Susteren's blog:

A source at the NRA tells Fox News, based on his access to an internal memo prepared by the organization’s membership division, that since the Newtown massacre, the organization has registered an average of 8,000 new members a day.

Rosen adds:

While this broadly mirrors trends seen after similar incidents in the past, the surge in membership this time is said to dwarf trends discerned in previous years. ... As well, the source confided that both the number of individual contributions to the NRA, and their average amount, have risen significantly in this same period.

Of course this comes from an anonymous source leaking info to Fox News, which doesn't seem to be questioning the numbers — even though the NRA has been accused of puffing up its numbers in the past. As Bloomberg reported late last year:

The number of NRA members is unclear. One NRA website says it’s “approximately 4.3 million.” On another, it’s “nearly four million.” A “sponsorship prospectus” for the group’s 2012 annual meeting offers ad placements in e-mails that will be sent to the “house file of 2 million NRA members.”

And as Slate's Dave Weigel mused, in response to the leak and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch's call on Twitter over the weekend "to ban automatic weapons," the conservative network still seems to be getting plenty of access to the gun lobby:

Rupert Murdoch has called for gun control, yet the only news org getting OTR NRA insight/strategy is... Fox News

— daveweigel (@daveweigel) December 19, 2012

As the latest Fox leak was surfacing, the NRA let out its first social-media post since a link to the statement Friday, this time in response to President Obama's news conference earlier Wednesday, in which he called for proposals on gun legislation:

President Obama supports gun control measures, including reinstating an assault weapons ban…

— NRA (@NRA) December 19, 2012

Sounds like the NRA's getting ready for that news conference on Friday. Sounds like there will be an even bigger response this time.

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