The NRA is in complete disarray. The gun lobbying organization is under fire from several lawsuits and allegations of financial mismanagement that could put their tax exempt status in jeopardy. Membership fees have plummeted, forcing them to scale back their television network NRATV. NRA president, Iran-Contra crook Oliver North, just resigned.
Rumors about the NRA’s demise aren’t new. In fact, the NRA has spread similar stories before to court donors. But the legal issues it’s facing feel like the organization’s death rattle. Still, in many ways, the NRA has already won. It’s made America afraid of common sense gun regulation, and despite financial problems, NRATV is a hit among conservatives seeking a more radicalized, gun-centric version of Fox News.
Other pro-gun organizations are ready to take the NRA’s shooting position. These organizations don’t have the NRA’s influence, but with the premier gun lobbying organization out of the picture, it’s only a matter of time before one (or more) becomes a household name.
Gun Owners of America
Membership: 1.5 million as of 2019
Of the gun advocacy groups, GOA most closely resembles the NRA. Don’t tell them that, though—GOA thinks the NRA is too ready to compromise and has distanced itself because of it. Still, GOA repeats the common NRA refrain about Barack Obama coming to take everyone’s guns. They tout themselves as the “only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington” and would be the most likely to try recreating the NRA’s mind-numbing, soul-sucking television content.
Second Amendment Foundation
Membership: 650,000 as of 2015
The SAF is best known for fighting cities banning guns. They were a key player in McDonald v. Chicago, a 2010 landmark case that found states could not infringe upon Second Amendment rights. More recently, they joined a 2018 lawsuit in Alameda County, Calif. challenging a ban on gun stores in residential areas (and lost). Where GOA has a radical reputation, SAF seems more likely to take on the NRA’s legislative mantle. Its lobbying affiliate, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, also boasts 650,000 members.
National Association for Gun Rights
Membership: 4.5 million as of 2019 (self-reported)
The National Association for Gun Rights has comparable membership numbers to the NRA and are also known for their attack ads and expensive advocacy. In 2013, NAGR spent $6 million in lobbying following the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn.—more than double what the NRA spent. The two haven’t exactly gotten along, though—the NRA once referred to NAGR’s leader Dudley Brown “the Al Sharpton of the gun movement.” Like the GOA, the NAGR sees the NRA as too compromising and could easily fill the role with Brown as an even kookier Wayne LaPierre.