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NRA Has a Vast Secret Registry of Gun Owners
BuzzFeed finds that it goes well beyond group's 3M members
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2013 12:30 PM CDT
In this file photo, a woman points a handgun with a laser sight on a wall display during a National Rifle Association convention.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(Newser) – The NRA hates the idea of a national gun registry, but it effectively operates a massive one of its own, reports BuzzFeed. Its secretive database goes way beyond its 3 million members—the group gets names from gun-safety classes, gun shows, magazine subscribers, government offices, etc., writes Steve Friess. It also sends requests to local police departments offering to pay for the names of permit holders. The result is a powerful "Big Data powerhouse" that rivals the much-vaunted one used by the Obama campaign and gives the group unparalleled clout.

“There’s nothing that prevents them from mailing those people,” says a former NRA lobbyist, who estimates that the NRA has "tens of millions of people" in its database. “The more you know about people, the more targeted the message you can communicate with them, the more the message will resonate with them.” Not that the NRA was happy to provide details to Freiss. Asked what it did with all the names it got from the rosters of gun-safety classes, a spokesman said, "That's not any of your business." Click for the full article.

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Showing 3 of 197 comments
Aug 23, 2013 3:12 PM CDT
Aug 22, 2013 11:16 AM CDT
of course ... the typical NRA member is a gun owner ... duh!
Aug 22, 2013 5:28 AM CDT
You’re "news" is nothing but a collection of relabelling, false comparisons, innuendo, weasel words, and outright falsehoods. The "report" you claim to repeat from Buzzword is an opinion piece by a "contributor" of invisible journalistic qualifications. I can testify from personal experience (having appended a classroom news assignment with a bit of what I thought was humorous parody), that if you make such misrepresentations and propaganda appeals as did you even in a first-year J-School news-writing class, you will receive one warning, and the next time you will be flunked. Journalism, you did naught. The NRA’s mailing lists are trivial compared to others’, particularly business and political parties. I find it interesting that the NRA’s mailing list is not compared to the gun control lobby’s, or to AARP, which sells insurance and lobbies for gun control. You probably ignored such groups for good reason. The NRA reports about 6 million members, all of who gave their names and addresses willingly. Considering both that many members, plus political contributors, and those interested in various NRA education and sporting programs, a list of ten million is trivial; twice that would hardly be large. A mailing list is not a registry like gun registration. The comparison is ludicrous. Nor is the NRA mailing list a data mining operation comparable to Obama’s use of the social media to spy on potentially manipulable and naive young people. I have been an NRA instructor for decades and have never, repeat NEVER, reported a student’s name or any other personal information. First, the NRA does not ask. Second, I would never violate a student’s privacy. The NRA has successfully opposed making gun registration lists and lists of concealed carry licensees public. So, having uniformly successfully sued to keep such government-held information private, how would the NRA possibly get it. It can not, of course. The NRA’s political campaign methods are no secret. The NRA lobbyists have shared them frequently, not just with allied groups, but in public seminars and on public TV. The methods are based on grass-roots involvement and person-to-person communication by gun owners and civil libertarians. They don’t depend on the kind of spying tactics Obama and the Democrats have used. Again, there is no reason to. NRA members, contributors, and gun club members can safely be assumed to be interested in guns and their civil liberties. So, the NRA does hot have the need of Obamatactics. READER ALERT: careful reading of this and Friess’s original article demonstrates that not a shred of evidence was found of any data mining: the suggestions so were nothing but innuendo. Besides, all the nonsense in your "article" was nothing but distraction for the issue of gun control. It was a baseless, ad hominem attack on the NRA. It represents an inability to debate the substantive issues, if not complete ignorance of the substantive issues. Its appeal relies on a carefully cultivated hatred of the NRA, without which its allegations are mere gibberish. At best, you were attempting to reinforce stereotypes, but clearly you did not stop there. If I had logged on to Newser’s Facebook site to leave this comment, Facebook would have demanded access to my Facebook wall, my e-mail address (which they require to register with Newser), my friends, and my profile. This information is a product that both Newser and Facebook will make money on. Now which organization and which writer is the hypocrite?