The National Rifle Association has recovered from a membership drop after President Trump’s 2016 election and is now at the highest levels ever in its history.
New figures put the membership at approximately 5.5 million.
Typically the gun lobby membership dips after elections, especially in nonelection years like this year. But officials said it is “holding steady” at unusually high levels, an indication that members are steeling for the upcoming presidential election.
“Keeping our numbers so steady is a great sign for us in an off election year,” said a spokesman. “What’s important is that we have great potential for growth in the coming months,” he added.
The membership surge since the 2016 drop-off has helped the Virginia-based Second Amendment advocacy group recover financially and dismiss reports that it was near bankruptcy.
The positive news for the NRA comes amid lingering concerns about a costly New York fight. It prompted Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to write a letter to supporters warning of a negative court ruling.
But some NRA officials said that the case is going well and they expect an eventual victory.
The most recent spike in membership came after the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which prompted several Washington lawmakers to renew calls for gun control and an assault weapons ban.
The NRA’s membership numbers indicate that the gun control advocates overreached and actually helped the group, while winning nothing from Washington.
Many new gun advocates signed up as annual NRA members after the latest gun control fight and have since continued their membership.
What’s more, there are expectations that membership in the NRA will continue to grow going into the 2020 elections that will pit NRA fan Trump against gun control Democrats. The group is just at the beginning of its series of annual events around the country where new members typically join, such as the upcoming April 26-28 national convention in Indianapolis.