Gun groups spent less on lobbying last year, when a new law passed

Gun Rights

The NRA, which has shown signs of declining influence in recent years, reported lobbying on a range of topics in its fourth quarter disclosure, including on background checks and on firearm bans and sales. 

Nominee defeated in 2021

“While others focus on inconsequential benchmarks, the NRA focuses on results for our members and gun owners,” an NRA spokesperson said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “Our full-time in-house lobbying team represents NRA members on Capitol Hill and are the subject matter experts that elected officials turn to for Second Amendment policy. And in 2021, the effectiveness of our organization was on display when the NRA led the way in derailing the gun control lobby’s hand-picked candidate for ATF Director, David Chipman. NRA members remain ready to engage and respond during the 118th Congress on any issue that may impact their rights.”

Other groups that lobby in support of gun ownership rights also posted a decline in spending or about the same amount. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported spending $4.9 million on federal lobbying in 2022, down from $5 million in 2021. Gun Owners of America spent $2.8 million in 2021 but had only reported about $800,000 last year for the first quarter and did not file reports for the other three quarters, according to House and Senate disclosure databases.

The National Association for Gun Rights reported spending $1.4 million last year, a decrease from nearly $1.6 million in 2021, lobbying reports show. Austin Hein, a registered in-house lobbyist for the association, noted that the group’s lobbying spending declined only in last year’s fourth quarter. In the first, second and third quarters, the association reported spending between $428,000 and $450,000, while it spent just shy of $290,000 in the fourth quarter. 

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The fourth quarter dropped, Hein said, because the group was focused more on the midterm elections than on action on Capitol Hill, which was in recess for much of the fall campaigning period. In the new Congress, he said the group was focused on maintaining the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster and on making sure that the House Republican majority isn’t “caving to gun control.”

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