08.15.12 8:45 AM ET
Big Guns Inside the National Rifle Association Leadership
The country’s biggest gun lobby has relentlessly promoted the Second Amendment, defending concealed-weapons and Stand Your Ground laws, even in the wake of a series of mass shootings. Who are the people on the front lines? Plus, a guide to the NRA’s money and how it’s spent and a video breakdown of our findings.
By Caitlin Dickson, Eliza Shapiro, and Kevin Fallon
With some 4 million members and annual revenues of $228 million, according to the most recent figures available, the National Rifle Association is one of the country’s most influential and powerful lobbying groups. It has more than two dozen branches, including one focused on voter outreach and another that promotes hunters’ rights. There’s even one called NRA Country, which works to get country-music stars to sign up as spokespeople.
The group is credited with successfully lobbying for, and in some cases helping to draft, Stand Your Ground laws and legislation that allows people to carry concealed weapons in public. In the 2012 cycle, so far the NRA has funneled nearly half a million dollars’ worth of contributions to hundreds of congressmen, mostly Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ review of FEC data. The NRA’s relentless work to protect Second Amendment rights, even in the wake of recent deadly shootings, has drawn criticism from groups that advocate gun control and nonviolence.
Here’s a look at some of the most influential people in the NRA, including paid executives and unpaid directors. Salaries and titles are based on the group’s 990 filings with the IRS from 2010. A spokesman for the NRA didn’t return repeated requests for comment about the accuracy of the figures or the information about the officers.