The Reload

NRA Membership Hits 10-Year Low, Hemorrhaging Over 1 Million Members Since 2019

New Reports from The Reload Show Dire Financial State of the Organization

Leaked Documents Show NRA Spent $1.2 Million in 2022 on Private Jet Travel Even As Organization Took Out $20 Million Credit Line to Pay Bills

A series of new reports from The Reload based on leaked internal documents has revealed the dire state of the National Rifle Association’s finances, driven in large part by massive drops in membership, ending 2022 more than $10 million in the red. 

  • NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s frequent private jet travel paid for by the organization has been a key part of the lawsuit the NRA continues to face from the New York Attorney General for improper insider transactions and financial mismanagement.

The leadership of the NRA appears to be choosing to wish the financial crisis it faces will go away without any bearing on the reality of the problem, projecting “without explanation” a 20% increase in membership for its 2023 budget — even after membership revenue has declined several years in a row. Meanwhile, despite the fact that the budget for the NRA’s general counsel’s office has continued to swell amid the organization’s ongoing legal issues, NRA leaders are budgeting for a one-third decrease in the office’s budget in 2023. While the NRA is projecting a drop in legal expenditures after settling some other lawsuits, substantial spending will still be required as the case brought against the NRA by the New York Attorney General continues towards trial.

These revelations follow a trend of the NRA continuing to spend huge amounts on legal fees, as membership continues to drop, straining their budgets to the breaking point. As Ohio State University’s Brian Mittendorf told The Reload, “The way things have developed, they run the risk of a downward spiral that is hard to reverse, a cycle that would result in the organization becoming a shell of its former self.”

The pattern we have seen for the last several years appears to be continuing. As the NRA continues to spend more on legal fees, it will likely have to keep making spending cuts in other areas. As it makes those spending cuts to services, it’s likely that even more NRA members will leave the group, leading to further declines in revenue. And as revenue declines, the organization may have to make more spending cuts, repeating the cycle and deepening the downward spiral.

The reports chronicle the finances of the NRA during what was a disastrous year for the organization politically. Last June, 15 Republican Senators voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act over the NRA’s objections, and in the fall, the NRA focused its campaign spending almost exclusively in U.S. Senate races, spending millions only to end up with a stronger gun sense majority than before.