With all of the vocal and vociferous hatred directed at the National Rifle Association, in general and especially in the wake of the Newtown massacre, it would be easy to think that the NRA is a highly unpopular organization whose deplorable degree of ill-begotten political clout only comes from some nefarious combination of money and corruption. The denunciations of the gun-rights advocate range from fervently partisan to downright evil, and the condemnations might make it seem that their many ostensibly under-handed dealings are at cross-purposes with most Americans’ opinions.
The actual reason that the NRA has so much political clout, however, is merely because it has so much popular support. Progressives are quick to point out as fact that the NRA tirelessly works against both the American majority and widespread common sense, but the NRA has over four million active members and most Americans hold a favorable opinion of the organization, according to Gallup:
Fifty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association, while 38% have an unfavorable opinion. The public’s ratings of the NRA have fluctuated since first measured by Gallup in 1993 — from a low of 42% favorable in 1995 to a high of 60% in 2005.
… Favorable opinions of the NRA are much higher than average among the 45% of Americans who report having a gun in the household — although one in four view the NRA unfavorably. At the same time, four in 10 of those without a gun in the household have a favorable opinion of the NRA.
As Byron York points out, it’s worth considering that:
After all this, Gallup says NRA has 54% favorable rating. That’s a point higher than Obama’s average favorable rating from recent polls.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 28, 2012
The NRA didn’t come up with the Second Amendment — they simply harnessed Americans’ widespread and deep-seated support for the Constitutional guarantee of the means for self-defense, in all its forms.