Money, Guns, and Politics: Five Facts About National Rifle Association Spending

Laura Curlin | February 16, 2018

Here are five facts about the National Rifle Association’s political spending:

  • The National Rifle Association and its employees have contributed $160,400 so far to candidates running for federal office in the 2018 election cycle. Almost all of the contributions -- 97 percent -- went to Republicans. During the 2016 cycle, they contributed $828,000.

  • The NRA also has contributed more than $400,000 the Republican Governors Association, Republican State Leadership Committee, and Republican Attorneys General Association in 2016.

  • During the 2016 election cycle, the NRA was the top-spending dark money organization, shelling out more than $35 million to influence the election through independent advertisements and communications with its members.

  • Since 2008, the NRA and its Institute for Legislative Action have spent a combined $31 million lobbying Congress and the federal government. The NRA spent more than $2 million in the first quarter of 2017 alone. Three of the leading gun violence prevention groups -- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety (including Mayors Against Illegal Guns), and Americans for Responsible Solutions -- have spent a total of $6.2 million on lobbying during the past 10 years.

  • The House of Representatives voted in December on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow people with a concealed carry permit from one state to bring their guns with them to any other state. Members that voted in favor received 34 times as much money from gun rights interest groups than lawmakers who opposed the measure. The NRA was a vocal supporter of the bill, which passed by a vote of 231-198.
  • MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association’s employees and political committee to the principal campaign committees of federal candidates, based on the latest data available from the Federal Election Commission as of Feb. 14, 2018.
  • MapLight analysis of federal lobbying disclosure filings from the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2017. Lobbying totals represent money paid by an organization to each lobbying firm for services on all issues, including both paid lobbying firms and in-house lobbying.
  • MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from pro-gun interest groups to members of Congress from Nov. 29, 2014, through Nov. 28, 2016. Contributions and interest groups data source:
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