The National Rifle Association

What is the NRA?

The NRA has historically promoted firearm ownership, marksmanship, safety, hunting, and self-defense in the United States, and has more recently taken up a major role as a lobbying organization, to advocate at the state and national level for its protection of the second amendment of the United States Bill of Rights. It is allowed to operate both as a charity and to participate in political campaigns and lobbying. Donations made are neither tax deductible nor subject to IRS disclosure.

Observers and lawmakers consider the NRA as one of the two or three most influential lobbying groups in Washington. Its political activity is based on the belief of the NRA that gun ownership is a civil liberty protected by the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and the NRA therefore refers to itself as the oldest "civil rights" organization in the United States.Membership reached 4.3 million in 2010.

What is NRA-ILA?

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRAILA), established in 1975, is the NRA’s lobbying

and political arm.

“The NRA-ILA shall have sole responsibility to administer the legislative, legal, informational and fundraising activities of the Association relating to the defense or furtherance of the right to keep and bear arms…”

– NRA Bylaws, Article X, Section One.

Less well known is the full scope of our activities, and the record of success we continue to build. NRA-ILA is a single-issue organization, but that includes every issue that directly or indirectly affects firearms ownership and use. These topics include not only Second Amendment rights, but also hunting, wildlife conservation, law enforcement issues, product liability, and criminal justice reform. Even less well known is the fact that NRA-ILA operates almost exclusively on donated funds, above and beyond the regular membership dues paid by NRA members. Without the contributions made by hundreds of thousands of donors, ILA simply wouldn’t have the resources to undertake the critical efforts in which we engage every day.

Executive Director - Chris W. Cox

Chris W. Cox has been the chief lobbyist for the United States National Rifle Association since being appointed in 2002.

Legislative Action - The Bottom Line Comes When the Votes Are Counted

The NRA-ILA explain the real-world impact of gun control schemes to lawmakers who might not know otherwise. Most importantly, their ability to fight successfully for the rights of America’s law-abiding gun owners is a direct reflection of the support of NRA’s nearly four million members. When restrictive legislation is proposed at any level of government, they marshal their grassroots supporters to make their voices heard. NRA members are alerted, and they respond in droves with letters, faxes, emails, phone calls and personal visits. NRA-ILA’s power does not come from Washington, D.C. Their power comes from millions of supporters from every corner and community of the nation, who are ready, willing and able to take an active role in the legislative and political process. That’s why NRA has won the number one slot in Fortune magazine’s “Power 25” list of the most influential lobbying groups in America.

Political Action If they Don’t See the Light - - We’ll Make Them Feel the Heat

"The quickest way to change policy is to change politicians. When lawmakers target our freedoms, we target their careers."

- Chris W. Cox

Political targets are identified. Massive campaigns of advertising, direct mail, and phone calls are developed. The NRA message blankets the media markets and moves numbers. Lawmakers win or lose. It’s all on the line every Election Day. Not just in top-line presidential races, but also in senatorial, gubernatorial, and congressional races … not to mention nearly ten thousand elections for state legislative seats.


The NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is a federally registered Political Action Committee. NRA-PVF is one of the most important tools in the NRA-ILA arsenal, and is funded solely by

the generous contributions of NRA members. Thousands and thousands of small contributions add up to fund one of the largest PACs in operation today. Unlike many other PACs, however, NRA-PVF does not limit its scope to simply making direct contributions to campaigns. The PVF war chest is deployed by NRA-ILA’s top strategists in every election cycle to communicate powerful messages to the general electorate.

Judicial Action - Defending Our Rights in the Courts

NRA is fighting back. We proudly helped pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which blocks reckless lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. America’s gun makers faced a certain peril. But we stepped in and saved the industry.

So... What is Grassrooting??

A grassroots movement is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers in the community give their time to support the local party, which can lead to helping the national party. For instance, a grassroots movement can lead to significant voter registration for a political party, which in turn helps the state and national parties.


In 2004, Cox lobbied on behalf of the NRA-ILA to end the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. The ban was set to expire after 10 years. Cox utilized a grassroot campaign, which included editorial pieces and news media appearances. Senator Diane Feinstein attached a rider to Congress's Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Had the amendment passed, the AWB would have been extended an additional ten years. Though President George W. Bush had agreed to sign the ban into law if the amendment passed, Cox and the NRA-ILA lobbyists were successful, and the bill was voted down 8-90. The ban expired on September 13, 2004.

McDonald v. Chicago (2010)

is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states. The Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.


Today's Conflict?

Obama's proposed gun laws... are they bad or good?

Membership in the NRA has increased and gun sales are through the roof....