A podium at the 2024 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
A podium at the 2024 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Gun-Control Groups Outraise NRA Political Operation in February

The National Rifle Association fell behind its political opponents in fundraising last month, according to federal records.

The gun-rights group’s political action committee raised just under half a million dollars in February, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing. Meanwhile, leading gun-control groups raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

The downturn in fundraising puts the nation’s leading gun-rights group’s political influence at risk. It comes fast on the heels of a jury finding the NRA failed to safeguard its charitable funds, and its longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre caused millions of dollars in harm by diverting those funds toward his lavish personal expenses. The scandal that preceded that verdict has already cost the organization more than a million members, and it’s unclear how many remain. That shrinking donor base is likely driving the NRA’s political fundraising decline.

The fundraising troubles imperil more than just the gun-rights movement. Former President Donald Trump is entering another campaign where he is likely to face a substantial money deficit. In 2020 and 2016, Trump’s opponents outspent him by about a two-to-one margin. However, the NRA picked up a significant amount of slack during Trump’s 2016 big by spending more than $50 million to help get him elected. The group, already dogged by corruption allegations, mustered less than $30 million to support Trump’s failed 2020 re-election bid.

Headed into 2024, Trump faces a three-to-one deficit with President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign. Trump’s political operation0 raised $20.3 million in February and has $41.9 million cash on hand, according to CNN. Meanwhile, the news station found Biden’s operation booked $53 million and has $155 million in the bank. And the NRA’s current fundraising numbers put it on track to pull in less than it was able to spend in 2020.

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment on its fundraising through February or how much it believed it could eventually pull in. Last month, it raised $489,362.54 through its Political Victory Fund (PVF). Its Super PAC brought in another $3,600, raising the total to $492,962.54.

However, the top three gun-control groups topped that number. Giffords PAC raised $472,229.79, just about $20,000 shy of the NRA. The Brady PAC raised another $64,305. Everytown for Gun Safety’s political arm raised $201,395.13. Together, their total haul was $737,929.92. That’s $244,967.38 more than the NRA banked.

The NRA’s 2024 fundraising is eclipsed not just by its rivals in the gun-control movement but its own historical performance.

In February 2020, the NRA’s PVF brought in $916,956.92. In the same period during 2016, it raised $1,385,524.46. It spent more in those periods, too.

Through the end of last month, the PVF spent just over $75,000 on operating and political expenses. Over the same time frame, it spent nearly $95,000 in 2020 and $542,532.53 in 2016.

The gun-control groups also outspend the NRA through the first two months of the 2024 election. They spent $1,534,892.36, which is about 20 times what the NRA spent.

The NRA’s more restrained spending has given them an advantage over the gun-control groups in one area, though. At the end of February, the NRA’s PVF had $11,839,796.75 in the bank. The gun-control groups had a combined $10,169,043.25 available to spend.

However, that’s another area where the NRA has historically seen better performance. Even with the higher burn rate, the NRA had more cash on hand by this point in the previous two presidential elections. By March 2016, the PVF had $12,209,474.34. By March 2020, it had $12,564,663.88 on hand.

Other gun-rights groups haven’t been able to stem the NRA’s receding tide either. While a number of those groups have grown their non-profit operations as the NRA has struggled, they’ve focused primarily on legal fights, lobbying, or gun safety training. Their associated political action committees and Super PACs have yet to post fundraising numbers that compare with the NRA.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s PAC brought in $51,797.66 during February and has $190,818.81 in the bank. National Association for Gun Rights PAC raised $2,492.24 and has $12,382.84 cash on hand. Gun Owners of America’s own Political Victory Fund raised $538 and has $17,736.80 in the bank.

The United States Concealed Carry Association’s Super PAC and the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Protect Liberty PAC didn’t report fundraising totals to the FEC in February. Their most recent reports from the end of 2023 show the former raised $1,129,455.31 that year and had $171,615.16 on hand headed into the election, while the latter raised $99,195.81 and had $2,700.16 on hand.

With about seven months left before Americans head to the polls, there is plenty of time for all of these groups to ramp up their fundraising efforts. However, the NRA’s legal limbo will make closing the gap between itself and its political rivals that much more difficult. The second half of its corruption trail isn’t set to begin until July, leaving it in a state of uncertainty it hasn’t experienced in its long history.

UPDATE 3-22-2024 6:57 AM EASTERN: This piece has been updated with data on a second National Shooting Sports Foundation PAC.

Join For Sober, Serious Firearms Reporting & Analysis

3rd Anniversary SALE!!
20% Off Your First Year!!

Free Weekly Newsletter

Get the most important gun news

Reload Membership

$ 8 a Month
  • Weekly News & Analysis Newsletters
  • Access to Exclusive Posts
  • Early Access to the Podcast
  • Commenting Privileges
  • Exclusive Question & Answer Sessions

Reload Membership

$ 80 a Year
  • Two Months Free
  • Weekly News & Analysis Newsletter
  • Access to Exclusive Posts
  • Early Access to the Podcast
  • Commenting Privileges
  • Exclusive Question & Answer Sessions
Best Deal
Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

Comments From Reload Members

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Get your copy of our FREE weekly newsletter!