The Violence Policy Center just released a new report today condemning the National Rifle Association for accepting donations from those in the gun industry. They also condemned the “round-up” or “add-a-buck” programs. They are calling both types of these programs “Blood Money”. The so-called research report is called Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA.
By the estimates of the Violence Policy Center, the NRA has received between $19 million and $52 million since 2005 from the gun industry. The largest single contributor is MidwayUSA. While I know Larry and Brenda Potterfield are quite generous with their own money, I imagine the biggest part of the donations from MidwayUSA comes from customers like you and me. It comes in the form of many, many small donations when we tell Midway to round up our order and send the difference to the NRA.
The other major thing that the Violence Policy Center neglected to mention is the number of dues-paying members the National Rifle Association has. It is in the neighborhood of 4 million life and annual members. If the average dues per member was only $25, this would generate $100 million in revenues annually. Since annual dues are actually $35 per year, the $100 million is probably a low-ball figure.
I guess when you don’t have dues paying members and subsist on handouts from the Joyce Foundation ($4.635 million since 2003), you tend to ignore the financial impact of dues paying members. According to VPC’s 2009 IRS Form 990, they had no members and a reported $924,927 in revenue. $585,000 of their 2009 revenue came from the Joyce Foundation. If I were the Joyce Foundation, I’d start to question if I was getting my money’s worth.