This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 4, 2020:
Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA), said on Sunday that “The cancelation of the annual meeting had a significant impact” on the pro-gun group’s financial condition. He blamed it and other cuts on the pandemic shutdown:
The health crisis has caused us to postpone countless fundraising and membership events along with competitions, training seminars and other revenue streams — those disruptions are the primary drivers of our decision-making process. Like every other business and nonprofit, we are forced to make tough choices in this new economic environment.
Those “tough choices” included laying off dozens of employees, furloughing others, and scaling back on the group’s usual fundraising, membership, and shooting events.
The NRA’s chief operating officer Wayne LaPierre sent an e-mail to his people:
Defending freedom has never been easy. Over the years, we’ve weathered more tough times than most. But, we will rise from this stronger and well positioned to lead the fight to protect our Second Amendment, the First Amendment, and all our constitutional freedoms during the crucial upcoming elections and for years to come.
It’s not likely, however, that the group will have the impact on the 2020 elections that it did back in 2016. That year the NRA’s non-profit arm raised $366 million and spent $412 million in helping the president get elected along with dozens of other pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment candidates running for office.
Although based on background checks, Americans purchased record numbers of firearms in March in reaction to the virus shutdowns mandated by nearly every state so anti-gun politicians might be in for trouble this year.
The NRA is not alone, of course. Churches, charities, and other non-profits have seen their revenues fall, often by half, as a result of the shutdown. Said Robert Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York:
Everybody’s in the same boat as the NRA. The NRA’s real problem is they had real existing financial problems before this happened. It simply does not bode well for their impact on the upcoming election.