The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the NRA’s affiliate in the Empire State, nearly doubled its membership last year, growing from 22,000 members to nearly 41,000 in 2013.
“This is an extraordinary jump, and when you factor in the clubs and other organizations that are also members, we are a force to be reckoned with,” said Thomas King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association in a Monday press release.
The increase in size catapults New York’s NRA affiliate past that of Texas and California, making it the largest state organization in the country.
Arguably, the event that precipitated the group’s tremendous growth was the passage of the SAFE Act, a multi-layered collection of laws that expanded the state’s legacy ban on ‘assault weapons,’ shortened acceptable magazine capacities and added extra regulation to ammunition sales.
Groups as widespread as the state’s sheriffs association, to firefighters, to local county governments have voiced their opposition to the measure. The legislation has even caused New York-based firearms companies to relocate due to its strict provisions.
Individual memberships to the NYSRPA cost $25. In addition to the money raised from the new members, almost half a million dollars ($475,000), King said that the group has received more than $200,000 in donations from out of state contributors. Much of this money has been spent to fight the SAFE Act.
According to the release, “NYSRPA has already spent over $450,000 in legal fees and is prepared to bear whatever cost is required to defeat the NY SAFE Act.”
As a result, the organization is turning away from holding large public rallies and instead is diverting its attention to smaller localized forums, registering voters, and continuing to fund the SAFE Act lawsuit.
NRA Representative Jacqueline Isaacs told Guns.com in a statement that, “People in New York are responding to their rights being under assault by joining the one organization that can do the most to protect their freedoms.”
“They know that the NRA has a vigilant presence in the state legislature, in Congress, in the legal system, and at the United Nations every single day to preserve our Second Amendment rights,” she added.
The word of this dramatic increase in membership in the state comes two weeks after Gov. Cuomo told an audience at the Capitol Pressroom that “extreme conservatives,” those who are “right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” have “no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”