Video: NRA adds 100,000 paid memberships in 18 days

Surprised? I’m not, after the full-court press that has more closely resembled a witch hunt than a policy debate in the media. The overwhelming unfairness of how gun owners have been vilified in the past three weeks and the aggressiveness of policymakers to demand laws that still can’t get majority support in the wake of the Newtown shooting make this outcome all but inevitable. If one wants to see what a political backlash looks like, keep watching:

The National Rifle Association has gained more than 100,000 new members in the last 18 days, the organization told POLITICO’s Playbook on Thursday.

The number of paid new members jumped from 4.1 million to 4.2 million in that time frame.

“Our goal is to get to 5 million before this debate is over,” the NRA told POLITICO’s Mike Allen. …

“We are willing to talk to policymakers about any reasonable proposals and plans,” an NRA official said in the Playbook report, regarding the upcoming meeting with Biden. “However, the NRA is hearing not just from Beltway elites and the chattering class, but real Americans all over the country that are hoping the NRA is not going to compromise on any of the principles of the Second Amendment, nor are we going to support banning guns. But we’re willing to listen.”

Politico had earlier reported low expectations for the NRA-Joe Biden tête-atête, but perhaps this might drive them even lower:

Vice President Joe Biden and the NRA are sitting down Thursday morning to talk gun control. Up next for a talk: Wal-Mart.

But don’t be fooled that the high-profile meetings are going to get much done.

The National Rifle Association doesn’t want new gun laws. And Wal-Mart sells a lot of guns, and has a lot of gun owners for customers, so the retail giant doesn’t want to look too close to the White House’s anti-gun push either, one source familiar with the company’s stance said.

“Gun sales are going through the roof after the shooting. It’s one of the fastest-selling items right now,” the source said. Wal-Mart wants to be helpful to the White House, but “when it contradicts sales, that’s where it stops.”

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar disputed the source and his claim. “We have been and continue to be very engaged in the discussions as the administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward,” Tovar said. “We are prepared to comply with whatever the law says.”

The NRA publicly has committed to engaging policymakers on reasonable proposals.  When the debate becomes more reasonable and less hysterical and demagogic, the NRA will be easy to find.  They’ll be the group that keeps getting more popular with each demand for gun grabs.