• Press Release

MFOL: As NRA convenes this weekend, their hypocrisy and decay is on vivid display  

DALLAS, TX — Today, amidst an organizational death spiral, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will convene in Dallas for its annual convention. Even as more and more Americans and gun owners see through the gun lobby’s lies and abandon the NRA, including over a million NRA members who have left the organization, countless lobbyists and politicians will convene to fete the NRA and their misbegotten earnings. March For Our Lives continues to work tirelessly to dismantle the lies that the NRA has peddled for years and to expose the corruption and immorality behind the gun lobby that continues to fuel the gun violence epidemic in America. After our own investigation of the NRA’s corruption, we filed a legal complaint with the New York Attorney General’s office in 2018 to outline concerning patterns and behavior that we felt warranted further investigation, which led to a lawsuit and the downfall of the NRA’s longtime head Wayne LaPierre earlier this year.

Our work to expose the NRA and the corrupt gun lobby continues. This year, six years after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, parents, survivors, and gun safety advocates came together to launch The Shotline, a platform that uses artificial intelligence to recreate the voices of innocent victims of gun violence so they can share, in their own voices, their harrowing stories and message to lawmakers. Each message is sent as a phone call to Congressional members to force them to confront the consequences of taking money from the NRA instead of passing life-saving legislation. With more than 130,000 calls made already, these powerful messages have flooded Congressional offices — and now they’re making it to the screen. In partnership with Change The Ref, during the NRA convention, March For Our Lives is running ads of The Shotline online to force NRA attendees to confront the toll of gun violence and encourage Americans to take action, including on content that mentions the NRA and gun violence over the weekend. 

As people across the country call out the NRA and their corruption over the weekend, let’s be clear: the NRA is not just a pro-gun group, but an extremist organization that abuses our political system, sows public distrust and discontent, and is a direct threat to the lives of young people nationwide

The NRA erodes our democracy, throwing millions into Trump’s campaign and featuring him as the keynote speaker this year, despite his ongoing criminal trial and clear reckless behavior to incite and celebrate violence. They’ve spent over $150 million on lobbying and campaigns, as well as millions to support Supreme Court Justices that have delivered in Bruen the greatest victory for the gun industry since Heller

The NRA incites fear, is callous, and shows no remorse for the gun violence epidemic they’ve caused. Not only has the NRA done nothing to stop the mass carnage and death of our children and teens, but they’ve never even shown a glimpse of remorse or sorrow at the lives lost. When students walked out of class in 2018 to honor the students killed by an AR-15 in Parkland, Florida, the NRA responded by tweeting pictures of AR-15s. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, the NRA’s then-head Wayne LaPierre said those famous words, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” turning a tragedy into a sales pitch. Where Americans see a tragic loss of life, the NRA sees an opportunity to profit off our fear. 

The NRA values money over life and profits off of mass shootings and tragedy. The NRA enables the epidemic of gun violence by lobbying legislators to prevent life-saving gun legislation and loosen existing gun laws. They do this because they know that the looser the laws, the more guns that are sold, which leads to more gun violence, and they use that fear to increase the demand for guns — creating a never-ending cycle of violence, death, and profit. Studies have suggested that, in recent years, some mass shootings have resulted in increased gun sales and a boost to gun manufacturer stock prices. 

After years of tireless advocacy by March For Our Lives and our allies in the gun safety movement, the NRA is in retreat. Even amid its current convention, it is dogged by legal troubles and a dwindling membership. The typical responsible American gun owner increasingly does not see themselves in the NRA, and consequently, its revenue has halved. It’s important to note that the NRA and its corruption do not represent the typical American gun owner, which is reflected in the fact that they’ve lost over half their members. Gun owners strongly support Extreme Risk Protection Orders, universal background checks, required permits for the purchase or possession of a gun, and laws prohibiting domestic violence abusers from owning guns. Gun owners have even taken to social media to address the gun violence epidemic, and to reject the NRA, going as far as to call for their removal in “American governance.” The political chokehold that the NRA has is breaking.

While the NRA will try to boost its flailing base, and seek to project strength at its convention this weekend, it cannot hide its recent downfall: 

When March For Our Lives was founded, the NRA was an untouchable and seemingly all-powerful political juggernaut. However, all it took was some meddling kids and a whole lot of determination to take down one of the largest and most powerful lobbying machines in American history. From demanding legal action and exposing their corruption to campaigns that highlighted their illegal and immoral activities, March For Our Lives took on the NRA time and again, and since we marched in 2018 they’ve lost over a million members and nearly half their annual revenue

This past year they also lost their top leader, when a jury found their long-standing CEO, Wayne LaPierre, liable in a high-profile civil trial for millions of misspent funds. The corruption trial exposed a web of deceit and financial impropriety within the NRA, with evidence showing LaPierre using the organization’s funds for personal expenses. State lawyers found that LaPierre had spent over $500,000 on eight trips to the Bahamas, billed the NRA for over $11 million in private jet flights, and even authorized contracts for vendors who gave him free trips and access to a 108-foot yacht. This blatant misuse of resources proves what we already knew, that the NRA’s primary goal is not to defend people’s rights but to use their money for their own profit. This decision was only possible after an investigation into the NRA’s finances by the New York Attorney General (NYAG), initiated after March For Our Lives looked into the NRA’s finances and wrote a letter to the NYAG about potentially illegal activity by the NRA.

It’s clear that the NRA is a shell of what it once was. They’ve learned the hard truth that young people and survivors are a force to be reckoned with. However, we’re not stopping until they are completely out of ammo.

“The NRA’s annual convention in Dallas is a grotesque display of celebration over blood-stained earnings, while American communities suffer the relentless onslaught of gun violence,” said Natalie Fall, Executive Director of March For Our Lives. As they gather to revel in their destructive agenda, March For Our Lives and our allies will re-launch The Shotline, an AI-powered platform amplifying the voices of gun violence victims who died because of the NRA’s dangerous agenda and disregard for human life. Through strategic partnerships and innovative ad campaigns, we confront the NRA’s corruption and extremism head-on, exposing their callous disregard for human life. The NRA’s downfall is imminent; they’ve lost members, revenue, and their top leadership to corruption trials. March For Our Lives remains resolute: until the NRA is disarmed of its power and influence, we will continue our fight for a safer America for every child, family, and community.”