NRA Claims Millions of Members, But How Many Are Current?

By Don McDougall

Current NRA Member Card
Current NRA Member Card…? Yeah I paid my dues,,,once.    Note the word “Annual”.
Don McDougall
Don McDougall

USA –  -( Ask the NRA and they’ll tell you how many people paid dues this year.

Go to an NRA sanctioned match or drop by a gun range and ask a simple question. “Who here is a member of the NRA” and almost everyone will raise their hand.

But in reality only about 1 in 5 have paid their dues.

There are some dedicated competitors who contribute their dues every year, but most of the NRA’s memberships floats in and out of the organization. It’s estimated the NRA’s message touches over 50+ million gun owners.

Given there are over 130 million gun owners in the country and that the NRA keeps the name and e-mail address of anyone who ever belonged that should not be a surprise.

NRA sanctioned matches are supposed to be limited to active NRA members, but let’s be honest who ever checks?

I’ve been to matches and belonged to clubs where the “less than one in five” is very much the rule, the simple fact is most caual shooters do not care. Most clubs simply accept your word for it and smile as they hand you a score card. Even at the most active growing clubs there is a fear about losing a member.

More people shoot each weekend than play golf in the summer.

These shooters still consider themselves members of the NRA even if they paid their dues or not.

The oldest NRA card I’ve seen was over 40 years. It was at a Silhouette match in Southern California. You paid the club for your annual score books (That went to the NRA), and if you wanted the new Rules Book, you bought it from the NRA. I asked him once about rejoining, and he said, “Look at all the money I give them every year!”. This man was proud to have that decades old card; he was proud to have paid those dues….once. ( Back before most of you reading this were born.) And he considered his payments to the NRA for the score book and rules books to cover his dues somehow? Like most Silhouette shooters, he seems to have suffered from some kind of memory loss when it comes to spending any money.

So ask yourself a question. Are YOU an NRA member in more than just name? Did you pay your dues this year?

To be honest, I’d probably just like these guys, except I used the Easy Pay Plan decades ago. A small auto pay done quarterly and I never have to remember to pay that annual fee. Just set it up once and you get ALL the privileges of a life member FOREVER.

So come on guys – do the right thing.

Oh and if you’re running a match ask to see that current NRA card. You paid your dues let’s be fair to everyone .

AmmoLand Join the NRA Banner
AmmoLand says Join the NRA

About Don McDougall

Don McDougall is an NRA instructor and member of the Los Padres “Friends of the NRA” committee. If he’s not at the range you will find him setting the record straight with on gun issues and gun safety on AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Anthony

it might be a little more sensible let alone “patriotic” to be complaining or scrutinizing the “endless” skillions upon skillions of Satanic Socialist anti 2nd Amendment, anti-gun, anti-American “non profit” zombies that Plague America with the Satanic Socialist anti-Rights Political Propaganda Media Machine that promotes them under the bogus pretext of being America’s media; than to pick on one of the few honorable & the “oldest” civil rights & pro gun organization the NRA. The endless Billions of Socialist dollars that the likes of Hitler’s worshippers & idolizers & “clones” like the Clintons Shummers Fienstiens Hussein Obama’s etc etc. funnel… Read more »

Derl Weeks

I joined NRA on 1/11/2016 I was promised a cap and a duffel bag for signing up for 3 yrs. All I have gotten is a request to extend my membership or give donations. I am 82 and would like to use these in my lifetime. Why should I extend my membership when in 3 yrs, I may not be able to shoot a gun. I can’t even find a website where I can check on my membership. All are on join or extend membership


Don’t stop the mailings. I use the paper, 8.5 x 11, as center of mass targets @ 27′. On some I use the masking tape holder to draw a 3″ circle for 21′. You practice, practice, practice and your groups do get smaller.

Brad In Oregon

Sadly, there will always be those among us that rationalize feeble excuses in their minds to let others pull all the weight in the constant struggles for freedom. The NRA is the oldest civil rights organization in our nation’s history, but they are spread very thin doing the heavy lifting for the millions of us that say we value our nation’s freedoms, but who do little or nothing except complain about the trivial things …and they often don’t even vote. And in response to that laudable effort by the NRA and their supporters, the cowards and naysayers among us blame… Read more »

ole Shoemaker

“LIFE” MEMBERSHIP IS A BARGAIN….. From my other comment, I missed that spelling… I still cannot see that NRA does anything different than any other organization. I get the same mailings or e-mails from every organization I belong to and/or others I just donated to once and a lot I used to donate to that I have not in years and am still getting mail to solicit from me…. Plus random mailing from places I never heard of in my mail box all the time. If that makes you upset at the NRA, I am afraid you are just looking… Read more »


I was a member of the NRA, but the relentless receipt of junk mail requesting money, money, money turned me off. I would like to join again, but probably won’t for this reason. They aren’t happy with members, it’s money, money, money. Sure they can’t operate without money, but i can’t be the only one that quit because of the junk mail, i know several personally. Take the membership $$ , keep the hat, range bag, cheap china crap you give out for free!! You can even keep the magazine, just don’t keep asking for money, money, money.


If you haven’t renewed do so before the end of this year; the dues are going up in 2016.

Rick in Indianapolis

I am an NRA life member and give to NRA-ILA regularly. What I find irritating,LISTEN CLOSE NRA!,is the constant,repetitive, seemingly endless mailings(both snail and electronic) from the NRA asking for more money!!! The money you could save by NOT endlessly sending these mailings that COST MONEY TO SEND could be used more productively in other places. You are not the only gun organization that does this. NAGR,GOA,2AF all do the same thing and it’s irritating across the board! Please use the money we give you wisely is all I ask. Thank you all for the work you do on our… Read more »

James Smith

There is no excuse for this fact-free article.
Its very easy to find out how many dues paying members there are.
Every year 501C(4) organizations file a tax form known as form 990. It is available on line at the IRS website. It lists income from dues. Divide that number by $25 or $35 (depending on what coupon was used) and you will get something around 5 million. This does not include someone who has a life membership for years. I know one friend who got a life membership from his father when he turned 18. He’s still a member.


Paying for services rendered doesn’t make you a member, it makes you a consumer.
EVERYBODY in my nuclear family is a Life Member. Donations and charges beyond that are just that, donations and charges. A little moral clarity is required here.

Don in LA

The benefits of membership more than cover the cost. As an old frat I remember the 80s. If not for the NRA you would have lost your right to own a gun.

Look at the membership benefits and discounts and you’ll see you get more in benefits than you spend.

ole Shoemaker

Being informed is great, last I knew NRA info was available to anyone, not just members. Doing what you think is right is your choice, but membership is no more subjective today than it was when NRA started. Trouble is so many want the benefits without paying for them. No organization can run without support. NRA, like any other organization, has to ask it’s member for support. They know, like any organization, not all there members can help all the time. Do not answer the phone unless you are prepared to deal with the call. You get calls from other… Read more »

Don Haines

Since I got back into owning guns, I have maintained membership in NRA. I do find it annoying when within a month or two after paying my dues, I get a notice to renew my annual membership. Do they not understand what “annual” means? I’m on a very limited income so getting calls from a telemarketer claiming Wayne LaPierre asked him to call for a $100 donation is offensive. No wonder people (who I know ) have dropped out. If I gave money every time I got a request from NRA, I’d have no money for guns or ammo. Almost… Read more »

Michael Ring

I think membership is much more subjective these days. I subscribe to Shooting Illustrated and buy products from it all adding funds to the NRA. I thus get Cris Cox’s letter each month. The NRA social media accounts keep informed of when it’s time to contact Representatives. I may not have a card, but I’m informed.

Alan Duerson

The NRA does a great job and I am a proud member and urge my friends to join. I donate to the NRA-ILA every year but object to being called once a month by a fund raiser seeking further funds. I have explained to them numerous times that I give once a year and don’t have unlimited funds to contribute $100 every month. Other NRA members have complained about the same fund raising calls have have threatened to quit because of the calls. Sometimes they are worse than the solar companies!