The spike isn’t a surprise, as such increases happen whenever people feel their Second Amendment rights are under threat, and many groups reported similar surges after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. But as gun control groups seek to use the anti-NRA backlash to mobilize their grassroots, recruitment this time seems to have taken on a more urgent tone.“As soon as anti-gun attacks started coming in on Twitter, Facebook, and in the media, we began to hear from people who didn’t even own guns who wanted to join up or contribute out of solidarity in defense of the Second Amendment to the Constitution,”
said Patrick Parsons, who heads the Georgia Gun Owners, an independent gun rights organization in Georgia. Parsons said the group’s membership, which he estimated at 13,000, had increased by 1,000 over the past two weeks, and that he had been “working around the clock taking calls, answering emails from interested people, sending out new member packets.”
Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, estimated his organization — which claims more than 4.5 million “members and supporters” on its website — estimated online membership applications at his organization could have grown by 30% over the last week.
he Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which has a membership of almost 29,000 people, said it typically gets 15 or 20 applications a week, but received almost 200 in the last week.
Gun Owners of America, which says it has 1.5 million members, amassed “hundreds” of new members in the last week, according to an official at the organization familiar with membership numbers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The organization said it has seen it’s membership grow by thousands since the Las Vegas shooting last October.
Don Turner, the President of the Nevada Firearms Coalition and NRA member, estimated membership renewals and requests had increased by 20 percent at his organization since Parkland, although this is an increase he said he did not witness after the shooting in Las Vegas.“Gun owners themselves weren’t being demonized [after Las Vegas]” Turner explained. “But after the Florida shooting, there was a definite push to demonize honest gun owners and to demonize the NRA. And I think that’s what’s provoked their response.”
Experts who closely watch gun rights groups said that while the NRA has remained silent about its membership numbers after the latest shooting, the rise in membership of other groups demonstrates the grassroots mobilizing power that is key to the NRA’s influence. “It’s not just a gun lobby, it’s much bigger than that,” said Scott Melzer, a sociology professor at Albion Colege who has spent almost a decade researching the NRA and is the author of Gun Crusaders: The NRA’s Culture War. “It relies on the support of a very large and activist membership base, and that base and that movement is connected to the broader conservative movement.”http://time.com/5176471/national-rifle- ... -shooting/