The National Rifle Association has laid off dozens of employees, canceled its national convention and scuttled fundraising, membership and shooting events that normally would be key to rallying its base in an election year.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the gun-rights organization during what should be heady times for the group, in the middle of presidential election and with gun owners riled up over what they see as an effort by authorities to trample on their Second Amendment rights.
The NRA, which boasts about 5 million members, in recent weeks laid off or furloughed dozens of employees, imposed a four-day workweek for some employees and cut salaries across the board, including for CEO Wayne LaPierre. The financial issues, combined with the cancellation of fundraisers and the national convention, which would have surely drawn a visit from President Donald Trump, have complicated its ability to influence the 2020 election.
In a memo to staff, LaPierre said 20% salary cuts were across the board while some senior staffers “voluntarily” reduced their wages even more. He said the staffing reductions and other changes were intended to be temporary.
“The cancellation of the annual meeting had a significant financial impact but, beyond that, the health crisis has caused us to postpone countless fundraising and membership events along with competitions, training seminars and other revenue streams — those disruptions are the primary drivers of our decision-making process,” said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the NRA. “Like every other business and nonprofit, we are forced to make tough choices in this new economic environment.”