Member dues payments to the National Rifle Association continue to crater, with the group collecting just $97 million in dues in 2021, according to an annual financial report released at the organization’s recent convention in Houston. That’s the lowest figure since 2006, when member revenue was $72 million, and a 43 percent drop from a recent high of $170 million in 2018.
At an NRA board meeting held on Memorial Day, participants discussed declining net member totals and membership renewals, according to an account by Frank Tait, a longtime active NRA member and critic of the organization’s leadership who was present. According to that account, CEO Wayne LaPierre said that “gas prices and inflation” were the primary reasons for people not joining the association, even though the recent declines in membership revenue began in 2018.
The annual report put total revenue from all sources for the NRA and its affiliated nonprofits at $282 million in 2021, down from $329 million in 2020, a 14 percent drop. The organization and its affiliates spent $246 million in 2021, the report states, so they finished in the black overall. As reports from The Trace and The Reload have shown, the NRA has managed to climb out of the red through deep, organization-wide, spending cuts.
The report also shows that the NRA’s legal battles, like the one with New York Attorney General Letitia James, continue to cost huge sums. The report states that in 2021, the NRA and its affiliates doled out $52 million — 21 percent of total spending — on legal fees and related costs.