Are Voluntary Associations Permeable?

NRA-Convention2013

There is much concern among those opposed to the National Rifle Association’s stance on  the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.  To such folks I offer the following counter-factual: imagine that those who held your views joined the NRA.  For example, what if an organization like MoveOn.org mobilized its supporters to join the NRA.  Why might that be interesting?

Sebastian, blogging at Shall not be Questioned, offers the following in his 2010 “Getting to know the NRA” post:

The NRA Board [of Directors] is composed of 76 members. 75 of them are elected for a three year term on the general ballot which is send to voting members of the NRA (lifers, and people with 5 unbroken years of membership), with one elected to a one year term at each Annual Meeting also by voting members. In theory the NRA Board controls the overall direction of the Association. In practice it sometimes works that way, and sometimes doesn’t.

There are apparently over 4 million current members of the NRA.  I have no idea how many of them vote at the annual meeting, but it is safe to assume that it is a fraction of the 4 million who belong.  Further, not all NRA members support the status quo: a May 2012 poll conducted by Frank Lutz for the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that over 70% of NRA members support background checks for gun purchase.

In any case, what interests me here is the fact that the NRA is a grass roots organization with a set of bylaws and elections of the membership.  Like Erin Jenne, and as the Lutz poll seems to suggest, I suspect that the NRA’s legislative arm more strongly represents gun manufacturers than the rank and file membership.  But what if a new wave of members who were willing to turn out and vote showed up in Houston next May?

You can find a membership application here.

– I am personally not a fan of the “lit review,” and will encourage you not to write that way.  I like an intro followed by a presentation of theory that works in the relevant lit along the way of that presentation.

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About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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