Talk:National Rifle Association

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Is the NRA a civil rights organization?[edit]

Um, no. The NRA is not a civil rights organization in the common understanding of the term. Someone added the article to Category:Civil rights organizations and I reverted, but this was undone by another user, with the justification, "this is a claim made outside of Wikipedia".

But that is not sufficient grounds. WP:CATDEF says, A defining characteristic is one that reliable sources commonly and consistently define the subject as having. "Civil rights organization" is not a defining characteristic of the NRA, because multiple, independent, reliable sources do not commonly and consistently define the NRA this way. Hence, it does not belong in this category. Mathglot (talk) 19:17, 14 November 2018 (UTC)

While I think a number of RS's do call it a civil rights organization, CATDEF also says it shouldn't be controversial. Given previous talk page discussions here I think it would be controversial. I will self revert. Springee (talk) 19:42, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, I think that's the right decision. Mathglot (talk) 20:27, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
  • From what I can tell it has been brought up a couple of times in the archives.[1][2] Both times finding consenus to include. The second time being an RFC that snow closed include. Has something new happened to over ride the RFC? PackMecEng (talk) 20:39, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
Yeah. A few "new things". In several places. Volunteer Marek 20:44, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
We could hold a new one then, but I am not seeing anything to overturn the old. PackMecEng (talk) 20:48, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
Also after a quick scan of the votes I only found one person tagged as a sock. LavaBaron as a sock of BlueSalix, and it looks like blue did not vote. PackMecEng (talk) 20:58, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
Based on RS I support that the NRA is, among other things, a civil rights organization. However I agree with Mathglot's read of CATDEF so I reverted my edit. I agree with PackMecEng reg the text they restored. Springee (talk) 22:30, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
The NRA claims it is a civil rights organization, but that's hardly definitive, the NRA has routinely attempted to co-opt the civil rights movement. Civil rights politics in the United States has its roots in the movement to end discrimination against African Americans. Where is the 2nd amendment mentioned in Civil Rights Act of 1964? Since when are gun owners a "Protected group"? DN (talk) 23:23, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
"In the 1920s and 1930s, the NRA supported restrictions on who could carry guns on the streets in order to decrease hostility towards European immigrants—who were known to openly carry weapons at the time—within the country. And after the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, the NRA backed the Gun Control Act that passed the same year, which put substantial restrictions on the purchase of guns based on mental illness, drug addiction and age, among other factors. Ironically, it was the gun control laws that were put into effect against African-Americans and the Black Panthers that led “rural white conservatives” across the country to fear any restriction of their own guns, Winkler says. In less than a decade, the NRA would go from backing gun control regulations to inhibit groups they felt threatened by to refusing to support any gun control legislation at all." [3]. DN (talk) 23:49, 14 November 2018 (UTC)

The only source I can see making the claim that it is a civil rights organization is Tampa Bay Times. That's not sufficient. There's another source given "Gun Nation" from the New Press but I have serious doubt regarding whether it actually supports the text. Unless the text can be verified, I'm removing it. Here is a source which explicitly says this "civil rights organization" is bullshit. And the text in the article basically makes this assertion in Wikipedia voice by pretending that the "it's a civil rights organization" is a given and the only dispute is whether it's the "oldest". That's straight up POV. Volunteer Marek 00:31, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Two more sources which say it's bullshit and just a propaganda talking point spread by the NRA itself and some fringe folks [4] [5]. Volunteer Marek 00:35, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

I mean, if we set a low threshold for source acceptability then we should include the fact that it's also a "terrorist organization" [6] (Being facetious. We shouldn't. But neither should we include NRA's self serving disinfo either). Volunteer Marek 00:39, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

  • I’m bothered by the concept that the NRA is a civil rights organization when you compare it to other such groups battling an enormous history of monstrous oppression. The KKK and other racist orgs have claimed that they are fighting for the “civil rights” of “oppressed” whites. No, they’re not. Seems that most sources consider the current version of the NRA as a gun industry advocacy, or lobbying group. I don’t have a firm opinion and could possibly be convinced otherwise. But, this seems a rather huge stretch and I’m not seeing this in the preponderance of WP:RS. O3000 (talk) 01:07, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
    • The NRA argue a lot of void for vagueness cases and this stuff is actually important from a legal standpoint — even if we can't find a secondary source for civil rights organization some of these details should probably be added to the article. Vague criminal statutes were ruled unconstitutional in the wake of the civil rights movement (probably one of the movement's most significant accomplishments) because they leave it to police officer discretion whether an act fits the statutory definition or not (so, per the NRA's arguments, whether the rifle is a banned assault rifle, etc.)...the main issue is finding secondary sources that could be added to the article.Seraphim System (talk) 09:47, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Gun rights are gun rights. Civil rights are civil rights and in an American context that means rights for African Americans. Legacypac (talk) 01:11, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Civil rights are personal rights guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws enacted by Congress.[13][14] PackMecEng (talk) 04:05, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Given that District_of_Columbia_v._Heller state that gun ownership and use are civil rights, it's hard to understand how an organization that advocates for the same cannot be a civil rights organization. -- Frotz(talk) 01:25, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Where in Heller did the Supreme Court say that the 2nd amendment is a "civil right" or that the 2nd amendment is part of what is commonly termed Civil rights? I had trouble finding it.

Legacypac (talk) 01:36, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Start with the lead paragraph in Civil and political rights: "Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression.". The SCOTUS didn't use the exact phrase "civil right", but they did say "individual right". Given that everything else in the Bill of Rights protects civil rights, don't you think that the Second also protects a civil right? -- Frotz(talk) 02:05, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
But, does that make this specific org a civil rights org? Besides, that's WP:OR. What do the preponderance of RS say? O3000 (talk) 02:09, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
This is not Original Research. This is basic language. The fact that a major portion of a group's activities are dedicated to Foo typically means that the group is a Foo group. -- Frotz(talk) 03:21, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
If it's you saying it's a civil rights org because you say that it's basic language, or it's a Foo group, then it's original research. If it's a bunch of reliable sources saying it's a civil rights org or a Foo group, and a bunch of reliable sources saying it isn't, then it's controversial. If it's virtually all reliable sources saying it's a civil rights org, then it's a civil rights org for the purposes of WP:CATDEF, and the category should be restored. But if it's either of the first two cases, then it shouldn't. Mathglot (talk) 07:51, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
How does that jibe with the RFC here on the subject? It was snow closed as keep. PackMecEng (talk) 13:44, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

""Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression." does not mention guns either. Freedom of the press is not a civil right either for example. Legacypac (talk) 02:17, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

How do you figure that freedom of the press is not a civil right? More fundamentally, do you think that communication with one another without having someone breathing down your neck is a civil right or not? -- Frotz(talk) 03:07, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
The papers say "After the Senate passed S. 60, the House amended it to protect the civil right to “the security of person and estate, including the constitutional right to bear arms.”[15] PackMecEng (talk) 03:09, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Too many Straw man arguments being presented here. The 1st amendment and freedom of press is irrelevant..The issue is SYNTH not OR. Unless we see some consistent RS stating that the NRA is a civil rights organization the argument is pointless. DN (talk) 04:13, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Exactly. You need a preponderance of sources which refer to it as such. Not just NRA referring to itself in those terms. Volunteer Marek 04:15, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
The text you are edit warring over is supported by the sources. The text you keep changing it to is not. The original text is about the claim of oldest not about if they are one at all. Neither source says there is a dispute if they are one, just if they are the oldest. PackMecEng (talk) 04:19, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Quick question, which part of District of Columbia v. Heller states that the NRA is a civil rights organization? DN (talk) 04:25, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

It does not as far as I can tell. I think it was brought up in relation to the question of if it was a civil rights case in general. PackMecEng (talk) 04:29, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not saying that it's impossible for the NRA to be considered a CRO, I'm just asking for some unbiased RS to back it up per WP rules. DN (talk) 04:43, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
Closest I found was The Independent and The Hill. Though The Hill is a blog, but could be reliable I suppose. PackMecEng (talk) 04:58, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
Here are a few more.[16][17][18][19] PackMecEng (talk) 05:14, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
No offense, but op-eds and sources referring to the NRA's own description of itself would seem to be non-starters. I'm unfamiliar with the The Independent as a RS. DN (talk)
The context in the book by Carlisle states "from the perspective of the right wing in America" - which may be true in this author's opinion. Either way it would have to be stated as such, although again, some may disagree and that would bring us back to square one...DN (talk) 06:56, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
The Independent in general is considered a strong source. True op-eds are not ideal but still a RS for what it is used for here. We can get rid of that one book source if you want, just because there are two other book sources listed. Also if sources are using the NRA's description of itself perhaps that is because they agree with it. Finally to your post below there are really two kind of civil rights. One is the movement you mention and the other, which is what is being refereed to here, is Civil and political rights. PackMecEng (talk) 13:42, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

See Civil rights movement DN (talk) 08:13, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

  • Self-descriptions are not useful here. Realize that white supremacist groups often think of themselves as civil rights groups. We would need RS that use the categorization. O3000 (talk) 12:29, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
My sense is that the NRA masquerades as a civil rights organization but it really is a lobbying group to promote gun sales.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:29, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
So they don't actually do anything to promote gun rights or the 2ndA? Springee (talk) 16:46, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
A right is a power to do something in the future that others acknowledge that the person can properly do. That is, a right is advance permission to do what one wants to do. The idea of civil society is to expand these rights as far as possible provided that these rights do not infringe on the rights of others, and the space between one person's rights and another person's rights can be thought of as a custom or a law. So one can have a right to walk on a sidewalk provided that one does not bump into another person. One can think of rights as like tickets to do things in the future, and like some tickets, such as a train ticket, one can buy rights, and use them at future times, all subject to law. It can get quite complex; strictly speaking, it does not make sense to call something a right if it requires that other people provide a service for free; so I don't see a right of healthcare, for example. Now the whole subject of gun rights can get confusing, since a gun can be thought of as a tool for a person to protect his or her other rights (such as a right to life, a right to have property not be stolen and so forth) but a gun right can also be used to take away somebody else's right to life -- for example, if an angry person with a gun decides to start shooting in a school or mall. So the conceptual underpinnings of a term like gun rights is ambiguous and confused, and my sense is that the NRA has been marching itself under the flag of gun rights when it more properly can be understood as an organization that lobbies for gun sales and gun ownership.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 08:45, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
There is the National Rifle Association of America Civil Rights Defense Fund (that's what it's called), but based on this discussion I don't think it's inclusion is likely to gain a consensus without reliable secondary sources that discuss it.Seraphim System (talk) 09:11, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Tom, you explained why you personally don't agree but we need policy/RS. Springee (talk) 11:18, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Of course we need policy and RS but it can help to get a gist of the underlying concepts, particularly regarding the concept of right. If we see the NRA as supporting the civil rights of gun owners, to defend their property and protect their own lives from criminals, then yes the NRA is a 'civil rights' organization; if we see the NRA as encouraging widespread gun ownership that leads to repeated mass shootings, then it is indirectly harming the 'civil rights' of those victims. What I'm saying is that the concept is open to interpretation or misinterpretation, depending on one's politics.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 13:44, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

It would behoove us all to stick to what the sources say. So far, there doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether the ones provided by PackMecEng qualify the NRA as a CRO. Perhaps they should check with WP:RSN DN (talk) 18:27, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Please review previous discussions on this topic including the past RfC. If current editors feel the consensus has changed we should ping editors involved with previous related discussions and verify they agree with the change in consensus. Springee (talk) 18:39, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Why not stick to the RFC that said they were? If you want to change consensus perhaps we could hold another RFC. Basically what Springee said. PackMecEng (talk) 18:40, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
Because the last RfC was rife with sock puppetry. And there's a better, and very simple reason - there's essentially no sourcing for the claim that it's a "civil rights organization", oldest or otherwise. In fact, one of the sources being used (Gun Show Nation) is being blatantly misrepresented. And that's putting aside the obvious WP:SYNTH problems in the article. Volunteer Marek 08:29, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Can you show this wide spread sock work? I found that just one of the editors was a sock. That wouldn't have changed the RfC outcome. You also haven't supported your synth claim. Why don't we ask the RfC participants what they think since most are still active editors. Springee (talk) 11:18, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
@Volunteer Marek: There was one sock in the RFC that had 12 votes. The final result minus the sock was 9 support and 2 oppose. So the RFC is just fine even with the one sock. Also just above I gave 6 sources, half of them book sources. PackMecEng (talk) 13:46, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Your sources are either opinion pieces or they're sources which don't state that NRA is a civil rights organization but rather state that NRA claims it's a civil rights organization. We can certainly include the fact that NRA likes to portray itself as such. But we can't call them a civil rights organization in Wikipedia voice. Volunteer Marek 14:51, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I think CATDEF would also be a good guide in this regard. DN (talk) 18:57, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough I might not even disagree, you can use that as the reason for a RFC. PackMecEng (talk) 19:01, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
CATDEF asks if the article should be in a category, not about content specifically. If we were to put "The NRA is a..." in the lead I agree we should follow CATDEF. In the body, especially if it is clear not all agree then it shouldn't apply. Springee (talk) 19:13, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
Your lead statement is exactly right: CATDEF is independent of content. Whether an article can belong to a category simply depends on whether RSes define the article topic that way. If Category:Cherry-tree hater is a defining characteristic of George Washington, then the article may be placed in that category, but the article doesn't have to say anything about cherry-tree hating in order to do so. Naturally, if it is a defining characteristic, sooner or later someone ought to add it to the article at some point, but it's a volunteer organization, and just because no one has added the content yet, doesn't mean someone else can't categorize it properly. Conversely, the bar for adding the category is pretty high: reliable sources must commonly and consistently define the subject as having [that characteristic]. But the second part of what you said about CATDEF is not correct; CATDEF applies irrespective of whether the assertions about it in the article appear in the lead, in the body, or do not appear at all. Mathglot (talk) 00:11, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
Community consensus says it is an appropriate category. PackMecEng (talk) 00:14, 18 November 2018 (UTC)

Edit break (civil rights org)[edit]

(Redacted)

And US white supremacist orgs like to cite the US Constitution also, claiming they are fighting for the civil rights of white people. That doesn't make them civil rights orgs. What matters is what RS labels them as. O3000 (talk) 15:05, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

It seems to me we have two questions that are related in a hierarchy. The first point of debate is if the right to bear arms (ie the 2ndA) is a civil right. The second is if the NRA is active in protecting that right. I think we would agree that the second is true, the NRA does actively support/protect. The question is if the 2nd A would be considered a civil right? To that end I would note that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 specifically protected the right to have arms for self defense. If RSs call gun rights a civil right or essential to civil rights I think that bolsters the case for inclusion. That doesn't mean we can't include a statement saying that sources disagree. Springee (talk) 15:16, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

And white supremacist groups are now calling themselves the “White civil rights movement” claiming they are fighting for their First Amendment Rights under the US Constitution.[20] Again, what matters is what RS say; not any editor’s logical argument for the label. O3000 (talk) 15:38, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Your repeated comment about white supremacists groups is a red hearing to this discussion. We do have RSs that say the organization supports gun rights. I've found (but have yet to post) sources that say the right to arms is a civil right. We also have sources that say the NRA is a civil rights organization due to it's support of the 2nd A. Springee (talk) 15:58, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I was merely providing a counterexample to your argument that it is a civil rights org. My search of RS finds a few stating that the NRA “calls itself” such (as do some white supremacist groups). I can’t find any decent sources that claim this themselves. (And no, I’m not comparing the NRA to white supremacists. Just using reductio to illustrate the problem with self-description.) O3000 (talk) 16:33, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I believe your are misconstruing our role here. It seems to me we have two questions... [i.e., 1. whether] the 2ndA) is a civil right [and 2. whether] the NRA is active in protecting that right — No, we don't. We (i.e., Wikipedia editors) have only one question: how do we apply what reliable sources say to WP:CATDEF. You seem to be confusing Truth (as you interpret it) and what logic demands a civil rights org is (or ought to be) defined as, with what reliable sources say. It is not for us to logic our way to a definition of Civil Rights Organization based on what we argue here, but to apply WP:CATDEF as best we can to what others (RS's) say. What we think doesn't count. Mathglot (talk) 17:51, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Mathglot makes a good point: We shouldn't be interpreting whether or not the NRA fits the definition of a civils rights organization, since that would be WP:SYNTH. We need to be following what the reliable sources say. –dlthewave 17:33, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
Consensus is to include, you can argue CATDEF all you like. Onus is on you to change current consensus. PackMecEng (talk) 17:56, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Keep in mind this consensus was over 2 years ago. We should really be more focused on what the sources say instead of trying claim something in Wikipedia's voice via an arbitrary vote-count. DN (talk) 18:16, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
What has changed since then? Springee (talk) 18:24, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
A shitload of people got shot. Volunteer Marek 21:12, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
That's a red herring. Springee (talk) 21:16, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
Not really. What it means is that how editors and sources view the NRA might have very well changed in the past two years, in the light of all the mass shootings that have taken place. You're more likely to get away with a self-congratulatory claim about being "a civil rights organization" when people are not really paying attention than when you're trying to make excuses ("stay in your own lane") for mass shootings that occurring monthly. Volunteer Marek 21:27, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
Almost weekly honestly. PackMecEng (talk) 21:36, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
It was a while ago, but it is still the standing consensus that did have decent participation with a snow close. Consensus can change obviously and I would of course be fine with a new RFC. But age of the previous does not invalidate it. PackMecEng (talk) 18:36, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

If they just want to include opinions by certain groups that consider the NRA to be a CRO in the body of the article, it just has to include the context of "in the opinion of so and so" along with the citation of RS. DN (talk) 17:46, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Currently the instances in the article say things like "the NRA claims". They don't state in Wiki voice that "the NRA is". That should address the discussion here. Springee (talk) 18:24, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Not really. The claim is that it is the “oldest...”. This text suggests that it is a CRO and that only the age is disputed. O3000 (talk) 18:29, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Then perhaps we should discuss adding a RS that disputes the notion that the NRA is a civil rights or discuss a change in phrasing to address what some see as an ambiguity. I don't see it as ambiguous given the sentence immediately before says the NRA is the one making the complete claim. Springee (talk) 18:42, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
The sentence says the NRA is claiming to be the oldest. That assumes it's agreed that it is one. The assumption is cemented by saying that there may be older ones. O3000 (talk) 18:50, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Could it be edited to say "The NRA claims to be a CRO, aditionally, it claims to be the oldest CRO..." or something along those lines? DN (talk) 19:24, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Objective3000, this is a possible read but the quoted NRA statement includes "oldest" and "civil rights organization". Additionally, every other instance that talks about NRA as a civil rights organization includes a clear statement that this is the NRA's claim. It's not like this is a stand alone claim just in this section of the article. DN, I'm not sure I like that exact phrasing but I think that would be a good direction. We do have some statements that suggest others do agree so I don't think we should present it as if only the NRA accepts the validity of the claim. Springee (talk) 19:36, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Could we put on hold the question of how old of a civil rights organization the NRA is until we get this current matter worked out? One can objectively see that the NRA is older than the NAACP. One can also objectively see that the NRA wasn't much interested in civil rights until quite some time after the NAACP was founded. So, any material we put into the article on this will need to hash this out. For instance: "While the NRA is an older organization than the NAACP, the NAACP has been advocating for civil rights longer than the NRA has.". -- Frotz(talk) 00:14, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
So far I still don't see a consensus via RS that says the NRA is even considered a CRO. 2A may be a civil right but that doesn't automatically make the NRA a CRO. That's pure WP:SYNTH. The NRA appears to be more like a trade organization than anything resembling a CRO DN (talk) 17:39, 18 November 2018 (UTC).
Even though I think the NRA is definiately advocating for a civil right, I would agree. Currently each time the civil rights organization claim is mentioned it includes something to the effect that the "NRA says..." I think with a bit more work we could address the ambiguity associated with the material that was removed/restored. Perhaps a simple sentence saying the claim (regardless of the "oldest" part) is both supported and refuted by outside sources (we have examples of both). That would address the ambiguity without needing to edit the current sentence. My only concern with editing the current sentence to eliminate ambiguity is doing it in a way that isn't awkward or make it look like no one else agrees with the NRA's claim. Springee (talk) 18:48, 18 November 2018 (UTC)


(Redacted)

overwhelmingly rejected. Would that it were true.Face-sad.svg O3000 (talk) 13:49, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No: NRA is not a civil rights org as the term is commonly understood. K.e.coffman (talk) 19:14, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
Please explain how the NRA is "not a civil rights org as commonly understood". Fact: Gun ownership and use is an individual civil right from the beginning of the United States as can be seen in Federalist No. 46 among other writing. Fact: This right was confirmed by District_of_Columbia_v._Heller while smacking down the notion of gun rights being collective rights. Fact: The right to own and use firearms is further defined as a civil right in other documents and decisions mentioned by other editors. Fact: The NRA advocates for the exercise of this right and against its infringement. You might as well quibble over whether a business that produces bread can be called a bakery. -- Frotz(talk) 00:06, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
Well I mean other than it certainly is. Perhaps it's not one as you understand it? PackMecEng (talk) 00:11, 18 November 2018 (UTC)

Comment about refactoring editors: Per Evade (not per Deny but that is a technicality) comments made by blocked editors can be removed but they are not required to be removed. Per WP:RTP removal of comments after others have replied to then should be done with caution as it can change the discussion when editors read it later. This removal [[21]] should have not initially occurred per RTP. A strike through was sufficient in this case. I'm posting here so editors can follow the removed material. Springee (talk) 20:32, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Per WP:BANREVERT "Anyone is free to revert any edits made in violation of a ban, without giving any further reason and without regard to the three-revert rule." It seems like you would have preferred that the editor be taken to Arbitration Enforcement instead of simply removing their comment. Why create all this unnecessary drama? - MrX 🖋 20:40, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
I've been down this road many times with the various HughD socks. If no one has replied delete away. If others have replied then consider the rules of refactoring. Evade doesn't say the edits must be removed. RTP does say we should be careful when the comments in question are already part of the discussion. If you didn't want drama you could have left the strike through restoration. I don't appreciate that my comment to O3000 lost context when you removed an edit O3000 replied to. Hence I restored with a strike out. Springee (talk) 20:53, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
You're not doing the TBannned editor any favors. O3000 (talk) 20:59, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Self reported membership numbers[edit]

I've reverted an edit from the info box suggesting the membership numbers are fabricated. Some critics might claim the numbers aren't true but such accusations shouldn't be in the info box without absolute proof. Adding a comment that suggests the NRA is lying in the infobox is WP:weasel (also MOS:alleged) We have only Mother Jones, hardly an unbiased source, making the claim. Editors supporting this please justify this change. Springee (talk) 00:22, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

(Ec) It is not weasel, it does not say they are lying, it just says the numbers are self reported and unverified. You are aware this page is under discretionary sanctions so you should not be edit warring over this [22]. In fact there is sources that question the membership numbers. [23] [24] [25]. I recall reading they have given away memberships with gun purchases (which may include creating memberships for people who may or may not want to join), failed to purge their member roll of dead people (your lifetime membership carries on in the afterlife?), counted expired members etc. Since there is so much media questioning the validity of 5 million for years, a sudden million member increase seems even more suspect. Legacypac (talk) 00:42, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

And responding to your added assertion that only Mother Jones questions it - either you are trying to mislead us or you can't google "NRA membership numbers" and read sources. I only included the first three media hits, there are more. Legacypac (talk) 00:42, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

LP, let's not get into accusations of bad faith editing regarding the NRA. First, the article lists only 1 source that makes the claim that the NRA's numbers are inflated. You offered 3 references but the WP doesn't say one way or the other. MJ is highly biased and HP is likely the same but you link doesn't work. Regardless of what you have read, it is very much a weasel thing to add words that make it sound like the self reported numbers are widely dismissed in the infobox. And yes, an honest assessment of that change (and the edit note that accompanied its addition) made it clear this was intended to show the NRA's claims were to be doubted. The membership section of the text has information that both supports and questions the claim. That is sufficient. Springee (talk) 01:06, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
We can't just post such a questionable number. The 5 million is very debatable (questioned for years) so where the heck did they find a million new members all of a sudden? Legacypac (talk) 01:25, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree. Attribution is needed and the way it's currently written in the infobox seems pretty reasonable. Bullet 2 of WP:YESPOV applies. - MrX 🖋 01:28, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Please find any other example where we have put such weasel material after a self reported number. So far we have only one source (and I will assume HP if the link is fixed) which is hardly known for a NPOV on gun related issues. If editors feel something beyond the "self reported" statement is needed then add a link to the section in the text. Springee (talk) 01:35, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Newsweek is not convinced. The data in this article lays out how they evidently pull membership numbers from thin air. [26] Legacypac (talk) 01:39, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
We should put "self-reported dubious" ref 1, 2, 3 as lots of major media outlets have reported their numbers are questionable over the years. Legacypac (talk) 01:42, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
You are repeating old arguments. Again, "Self reported" or "self reported, see [link to text section]" is sufficient. The material added was weasel. Springee (talk) 01:45, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

We appear to have had a similar discussion just a few months back [[27]]. We had a consensus for the content then but now we seem to want to change things based on a fly by edit of questionable neutrality. Lets get some other editor's inputs. I'm going to hold off tagging the edit with "weasel" so others can reply. Yes, some sources with a history of bias against the NRA have claimed the numbers are false but no solid evidence is presented and we also have RS sources that support/accept the NRA's numbers. Springee (talk) 01:45, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Read the Newsweek article. They quote ex NRA employees who flat out say the numbers are padded and how. This is not complicated. I'm a Canadian with no dog in this debate. I've provided high quality sources that cast serious doubt on the numbers. Where is your sources supporting that the NRA is not pulling numbers from thin air? You have a membership audit? How about a percise quoted number at a point in time, not a fuzzy round number. How about a consistent number not controdicted by other things the NRA puts out? In the absense of solid sources to the contrary we need to go with "dubious" according to the good sources. Legacypac (talk) 01:54, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Maybe we should ask the brand new editor who joined Wikipedia a few minutes before reverting my edit. - MrX 🖋 01:55, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
It is sock like but perhaps we shouldn't undo it until we actually have proof?[[28]]. Perhaps this IP editor from earlier today added an account[[29]]. Springee (talk) 02:02, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
First, your claim that you are just a Canadian with no dog in the fight doesn't jive with your history in this area. In the article we have a Pew source that does support the numbers. Regardless all we have are accusations made shortly after a mass shooting when the typical news cycle rules lost of anti-NRA stories. After quite a few discussions we have a membership section in the article which discusses the issue. No one is claiming the NRA membership rolls have been audited. What I'm saying is the article shouldn't use weasel text to suggest in wikivoice that the stated number is a lie. The infobox says "self reported". The text includes a discussion of the accusation of smaller than claimed membership. Why are we discussing this again? Springee (talk) 02:00, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Your history is pretty clear Springee. Where are these sources Springee? Sure sources report what NRA claims but where are the ones that Support the claims with data? Legacypac (talk) 02:43, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes, and so is yours. Here you blatantly ignore WP:OR to invent anti-NRA material [[30]]. The Pew material is already in the article. Springee (talk) 03:30, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Any editor following that link will see you are misrepresenting my editing Legacypac (talk) 05:00, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
It appears some editors are trying to justify there opinions and there point of view in lieu of meaningful improvements. Trying to force such controversy into the infobox has the optics of editor bullying. I would also advise such editors to try and appreciate that they are not judge jury and executioner.Mikeuralot (talk) 02:04, 4 December 2018 (UTC) ← Sock of topic banned user HughD
heck of a start on Wikipedia. Legacypac (talk) 02:43, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Yet you reverted the editor with an accusation. Springee (talk) 03:30, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Yup, thanks for pointing out I was correct :) Legacypac (talk) 04:40, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Citing a self-published source is often appropriate for non-contentious claims about the subject, such as undisputed "official" membership numbers that are often published by charities. In this case, however, simply presenting the NRA's numbers in the infobox (even with the "self-reported" caveat) does not represent the breadth of prominent RS-published views and therefore is not NPOV. The infobox should be designed such that readers can pick up accurate facts without reading further into the article, so it is appropriate and necessary to briefly explain the fact that the numbers are disputed and that they are estimates rounded to the nearest million, not official membership statistics. –dlthewave 02:57, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
We have not shown this is a widespread believe or that there is actual proof the NRA is publishing false numbers. We have gone through this content before, we don't have a consensus for this change so it should be reverted back to the long standing version. @Volunteer Marek:, your recent edit contained no reason for a reversion. Reverting a sock editor would be a legitimate reason for reversion but that should be included in the edit justification. Please modify the edit to include a reason. [[31]] Springee (talk) 03:30, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I didn't and don't see a reason to have to state the obvious.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:34, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
It's a contentious topic and subject to DS. It would be good to state why you reverted the new editor. If you think they are a sock that's fine, say so. If you don't agree with the change, say so. Springee (talk) 03:37, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

I agree it should stay listed as unverified unless there are good independent reliable sources that can show it. Their numbers have been always been contentious so unverified is proper without breaking NPOV. ContentEditman (talk) 03:25, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

When are self reported things like this ever listed as "verified"? If they were verified would they be self reported? Springee (talk) 03:34, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Comment I'm glad to see discussion here at the talk page. Unfortunately, people were edit warring and reverting each other while this discussion went on. I have locked the page for 24 hours to stop the edit warring. Meanwhile please continue your discussion here, staying civil and not accusing each other of things, and hopefully reaching a consensus or compromise wording by the time the protection expires. -- MelanieN (talk) 03:40, 4 December 2018 (UTC)


We have consensus except for Springee (two reverts) and a brand new never edited before acct that appeared (two reverts). Legacypac (talk) 04:48, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
How many reverts did you add? More than one. Also, local consensus doesn't trump MOS. Springee (talk) 04:50, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Are you using a sock? There is only one other account here pushing your POV and the brand new account showed up after you reverted twice. I restored once and then reverted the very first edit by this new acct - no one will fault me for that when the acct looks "sock like" Legacypac (talk) 04:57, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Update - sock confirmed as Springee's good friend 72bikers - blocked [32]. There is half of the edit warring solved User:MelanieN Legacypac (talk) 05:06, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm glad to see you had the common sense to strike your accusation of bad faith. [[33]] Please strike the next one. Springee (talk) 05:08, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
No need. I correctly reverted a sockpuppet - you made excuses for them. MrX got him blocked. You and 72bikers trash talked me on his talkpage after 72bikers banned me from posting there leaving me no way to defend myself. You have no problems saying untrue things about me and therefore my tolerance with your POV pushing and general bad behavior is pretty low. Legacypac (talk) 05:16, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
But 72bikers wasn't the editor here. You said he was but... well you are wrong. If you can cite the untrue things I've said please do. I've cited where you fought to keep anti NRA SYN material in an article. Springee (talk) 05:25, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes he was. Not only did he violate his topic ban; he used a sock puppet to do so. At this point, we seem to have solid consensus for the edit under discussion. - MrX 🖋 12:07, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
No, if you read the whole discussion the sick that was here was yet another HughD sock. As for the edit under discussion we still have an issue is WP:Weasel that may need uninvolved editor review given the clear editorial preference of all the editors involved in this discussion (think of it as a party line vote). Springee (talk) 12:15, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I literally linked to an admin edit identifying Mikeuralot as a sock of 72bikers. Not to be harsh, but I think you're confused. You are the only editor who seems to think there is WEASEL problem with the edit under discussion. Consensus is not unanimity.- MrX 🖋 12:30, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Back to the topic: what is the best way to show this questioned number 6 million. How about "self-reported dubious" ref 1, 2, 3 Legacypac (talk) 05:22, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

"dubious"... well you were worried about SYN so long as it was anti-NRA why would I expect you would care about WEASEL or ACCUSE? Springee (talk) 05:25, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
  • The Washington Post and Mother Jones magazine suggest that nobody knows the real membership numbers (except the NRA of course) but clues from tax reporting suggest that membership numbers since around 2004 to the present are mostly flat (except after high-profile mass shootings when they go up), that the NRA is increasingly getting revenue from large donations and possibly from Russian sources. This suggests that describing NRA membership numbers as unverified or self-reported seems reasonable.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 11:50, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
And Pew suggests up to 14 million people consider themselves members per the link in the article. Springee (talk) 12:15, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I see that this article says that, but I can't verify it in the source. Do you know where in the source it says that 14 million people consider themselves members? - MrX 🖋 12:44, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Just say its self reported or remove it from the infobox all together. Explaining "dubious" needs more context than an infobox can provide, and if it's really that relevant, then it can be explained further, or explained period in prose. Alternatively, we could find another actual estimate and give a range, but the WaPo and MJ sources above don't actually estimate anything, they just read tea leaves around the edges and make generic guesses of directionality. GMGtalk 12:35, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't think we should use "dubious" in the infobox, but perhaps we could say self-reported and add an explanatory footnote.- MrX 🖋 12:44, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Self-reported seems like a reasonable compromise. The dubious is a non-starter, MrX what would you put in the footnote? PackMecEng (talk) 12:49, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
We can simply say that the membership numbers are unverified and self-reported, and that estimates range from 3.4 million to 6 million (or whatever numbers are reported in sources). The 14 million number should not be noted, since it is sampled survey information from people who seem to think they are members but are not.- MrX 🖋 13:02, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough, how about that and like Springee suggested add a link to the appropriate section as well? PackMecEng (talk) 13:41, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
For reasons of SYNC we shouldn't add explanatory text to the infobox or the footnote. Instead we should link to the membership section. I would be OK with a statement in the footnote like, "this value has been disputed [see membership|link]". Springee (talk) 13:45, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I am just not a fan of using disputed, I think it implies the wrong thing. I do like linking to the section for a full explanation of what is going on though. The nice thing about the note reference is it does not clog up the info box so something like "Estimates range from 3.4 to 6 million see membership" wouldn't be to bad. The user would have to hover over the ref to see the message. PackMecEng (talk) 13:51, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I think that would be fine as long as we retain "self-reported" in the infobox. Other editors may have different thoughts on this.- MrX 🖋 13:58, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah that would be keeping the self-reported and ditching ", claim unverified as of 2018" and the dubious claim. PackMecEng (talk) 14:01, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
  • I object to using "self-reported" with no caveats. Most organizations reliably self-report precise membership numbers, so we would need something else to describe the fact that the NRA does not regularly publish precise numbers and that the estimates given by their representatives are considered questionable. This also would not be a compromise since "6 million, self reported" is the long-standing version that has raised objections. –dlthewave 13:19, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Remember that the numbers are being questioned by sources that are hostile to the NRA (MJ, HP) and at times when the NRA is facing a lot of political and public flack for their gun rights stance. Springee (talk) 13:41, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
I can't remember what I never knew in the first place. Cite please for MJ and HP being hostile toward NRA? Thanks. - MrX 🖋 13:46, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
  • How about "self reported"(hot linked to Membership section) or "self reported(footnote that hotlinks with "see Membership")? Springee (talk) 13:37, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
Only if also include a brief explanatory note as suggested above.- MrX 🖋 13:58, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

I'd like to see cites for these large news outlets being bostile to the NRA too. Newsweek is the best source I've seen. They lay out how the NRA lies about membership numbers and quote named ex NRA employees on how. We need something stronger than "self reported" we need to suggest the number is likely not true somehow with refs. Legacypac (talk) 04:40, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

Any numbers you get from an independent source on NRA membership are certain to be lower than numbers coming from the NRA. Why? Would you be honest with a stranger who asks you if you belong to an organization that is constantly derided as a terrorist organization by prominent media personalities and politicians? Would you be honest with strangers who ask about your politically-incorrect valuables? Roll this back a few decades. Suppose it's 1955. A pollster telephones you or approaches you on the street and asks if you're homosexual. If you are homosexual, will you be honest? If independent sources on membership numbers are mentioned at all, they will need to be accompanied by a strong caveat of this motivation to lie to pollsters. -- Frotz(talk)
No, the RS that say the membership numbers are inflated are analyzing the NRA's own magazine circulation numbers, tax filings, mismatched statememts by the NRA and its spokespersons, and quoting former employees. None of the questions are based on polling. Legacypac (talk) 01:06, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. What do you have? -- Frotz(talk) 04:08, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
A bunch of refs like [34], what have you brought to the discussion? Legacypac (talk) 05:30, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm advising caution when dealing with a topic that's been subject to good deal of exaggeration and rancor. That Newsweek article relies an awful lot on thoroughly discredited people, for instance, Josh Sugarmann. Then there are unverified quotes (David Gross). Then there are attempts to extrapolate membership numbers from accounting information followed by a statement that such techniques are impossible to make work. Then there are discussions of magazine circulation numbers, how dubious the value of using those as a telltale, and a caution that members opting for digital-only subscriptions tosses a wrench in the calculations. In conclusion, it's not a good source of much of anything. What else do you have? -- Frotz(talk) 12:58, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
The Newsweek article is not as clear cut as LP claims. Yes, it does raise questions but it doesn't present rock solid information. Part of the article takes rather innocuous things and tries to cast them in a negative light. The question of purging members who have recently died and not immediately canceling the membership of members who are 1 month overdue doesn't seem like a clear cut case of deception. To show this is somehow an intent to deceive I think they would have to prove that this is out of the ordinary. The local children's museum doesn't automatically kick members off the rolls when they die. Yes, I agree that such practices would inflate the numbers but by how much and is the intent really to decieve or simply because it would take a lot of time and effort to verify that all the extended members (lifetime, multi-year etc) are still living. It's not like the NRA would be notified by some state authority or next of kin. So what about the 1 month extension. Sounds like a grace period and is hardly unique to the NRA. Well, I hate to say it but I have missed paying my auto insurance on time. Fortunately my insurance company decided that was probably an oversight on my part and coverage wasn't instantly terminated. Other parts of the article actually talk about how methods like estimation using magazine deliveries and revenue are hardly conclusive. Basically the Newsweek article doesn't prove that the NRA's numbers are false. It's reasonably balanced (once they got past the first few paragraphs which didn't address membership and included the highly questionable 97% of members want claim) in showing that some have accused the NRA of false numbers but their evidence isn't conclusive and the actual facts are hard to prove. Finally, when the article gets down to the point, they note that the membership size isn't debated trivia, it matters because it suggests political clout. If the membership rolls aren't as big as claimed then the political power of the NRA may be less than claimed. However, as the Pew research showed, the number of people who consider themselves to be NRA members is about 14 million. Thus even if the actual member rolls are say only 4.5 million vs the 5 million claimed, the NRA may have sway over 8 million voters even though not all are members. Anyway, the Newsweek article isn't a solid source to claim the NRA's numbers are wrong, only that some people question them. Springee (talk) 14:00, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
We have a Wikipedia editor (Springee) saying that these discrepancies don't matter and a reliable source (Newsweek) saying that they do. We follow the reliable source.
We're talking about the accuracy and verifiability of the numbers. It doesn't matter whether or not there is an intentional exaggeration. Newsweek also points out that the NRA does not regularly publish their membership statistics and they do not allow verification by outside entitites. –dlthewave 14:38, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
That isn't what I said and since you are claiming Newsweek says they do matter show the quote. Springee (talk) 14:42, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
_•A bunch of RS say the member numbers are highly questionable. The NRA neither publishes anything like percise data, allows any outside verification or demonstrates consistency in the numbers reported. Springee just dismisses all the RS with a waive of the hand and defends the improbable and inconsistent. Why is he allowed to edit in an area with Discretionary Sanctions exactly? Legacypac (talk) 05:06, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps you should open an ANI. Else, WP:CIVIL applies even to you. Springee (talk) 11:11, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm not talking about whether or not there is intentional exaggeration. All I'm saying is that nothing in that article backs up your claims. -- Frotz(talk) 04:47, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
  • So are we good with "6 million (self-reported)" and a note saying "Estimates range from 3.4 to 6 million see membership"? PackMecEng (talk) 13:42, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm OK with that so long as we include an updated refernce to support the 6 million part. It might be good to have a footnote talking about the date ranges for those estimates since I don't think they were all at the same time. Springee (talk) 14:00, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Membership estimate by Pew[edit]

Remove the following from the Membership section per WP:UNDUE and WP:SELFPUB:

"A 2017 Pew Research Center Study found that more than 14 million Americans consider themselves NRA members, above the real membership number of 5 million. This may be attributed to the fact that the NRA has millions more of Americans who support them and will tell pollsters they are members, even when they are not. In other cases, it could be that their membership has lapsed and for others, they might consider a family member's membership part of their own.[157][158]" - MrX 🖋 12:59, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Object to removal. The information is also here [[35]]. Springee (talk) 13:34, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

It doesn't belong under the heading "Membership" in a serious encyclopedia article. Even the NRA thinks is nonsense. WP:NOTSPECULATION applies. - MrX 🖋 13:43, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

I don't know about the full removal, but per above discussions perhaps change "real membership" to "claimed membership". PackMecEng (talk) 13:47, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

 Not done: The page's protection level has changed since this request was placed. You should now be able to edit the page yourself. If you still seem to be unable to, please reopen the request with further details. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 08:45, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Aww. That's a clever icon. Thanks User:XYZtSpace. GMGtalk 15:37, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

MrX, I reverted your edit for several reasons. First, the change was changed here. Second, the Pew material is mentioned by several sources on the subject and is useful context for the discussion. Springee (talk) 13:02, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

"the change was changed here". Huh? Anyway, in light of your pushback, I have attempted a compromise that simply states the Pew survey anomaly and the NRA's explanation, properly sourced with a secondary source. I still think the material is not encyclopedia, and would support removing it entirely.- MrX 🖋 13:20, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I entered that with my phone. Regardless, I'm happy with your changes. Springee (talk) 13:30, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Oh I see, that should have been "challenged".- MrX 🖋 13:35, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

The Pew study doesn't actually include the "14 million" figure or any of the analysis regarding why the numbers seem to differ, so it probably shouldn't be cited. It appears that the NRA extrapolated the percentages themselves. –dlthewave 13:25, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

The Hill article says 14 million. Springee (talk) 13:30, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Of course it's extrapolated (and maybe we should clarify that in the article). They obviously didn't survey 14 million people.- MrX 🖋 13:34, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
I guess I meant "calculated". My point is that nothing in that section is directly supported by the Pew survey, so it probably shouldn't be included as a primary-source reference.
I see what you're saying. So who made the extrapolation (or calculation). Was it the NRA?- MrX 🖋 14:28, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Both the 14 million figure and the bit about family members/ lapsed memberships originate from the NRA source [36]. –dlthewave 14:40, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
The authors of The Hill article don't credit the number to the NRA but rather to the Pew study. If you read the full Pew report (linked via the Pew link) they say 19% of gun owners so I'm assuming it's calculated. Either way, the wiki article doesn't source it to the NRA. Springee (talk) 16:13, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
@Dlthewave:, to what extent do you think the Pew study has to support the text to be included? The linked study is the one that The Hill cites as providing the 14 million number. What about including the 19% of gun owners which is specifically what the Pew study said? Springee (talk) 17:51, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
We need to be precise about which statements are attributed to each source. Pew can be used to support 19%. It is wrong to say that their report states 14 million; it appears that The Hill falsely attributed that number to Pew and I think it's safe to say that they lifted that statistic from the NRA press release without fact-checking it. Pew also did not make the comparison between the NRA's reported membership and the membership levels reported in the survey. –dlthewave 18:10, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree. We should not repeat information that we know not to be true. Actually, the 14 million number should probably be attributed to the NRA. - MrX 🖋 14:36, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
How do we know that information to be not true? The HuffPo [[37]] also includes the claim. Unless we can show that the conversion from 19% of US gun owners to 14 million is wrong we cannot say it is wrong. We can only say that Pew literally say X and The Hill quoted it as Y. My quick check shows a low of 10.5 and a high of 13.9 using some old data). That's 252 million adults in the US 2017 data. Estimates for what percent have guns varies from 22-29% per a 2013 study [[38]]. Pew said 19% considered themselves NRA members. So the 14 million number is in the range of possible and shouldn't be declared "false". At least two RSs have repeated the 14 million number and my estimates show it is possible based on the Pew study. Springee (talk) 14:57, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm not saying that "14 million" is false; I'm just saying that it didn't come from Pew. The report only mentions 19% and does not include the total gun ownership number that would be required in order to calculate the number of NRA members. If the primary source doesn't say it, The Hill shouldn't be saying that they say it. I'm not sure how "19%" can be quoted as "14 million". –dlthewave 15:13, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
The Pew study should be included as it is the source for the Hill article and could be helpful to our readers if they want to learn more. I do not care if you think the Hill should or should not be saying something. That is their call as a RS to decide what is correct. PackMecEng (talk) 15:29, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
We do not typically include the primary source in these cases, especially when it does not directly support any statement in the article. The secondary source is sufficient. –dlthewave 15:32, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────We do that all the time. Generally when giving info from a secondary source on a study. In those cases we would also link the study in case the reader would like to see it.

My concern is that the citing the Pew study would imply that they are the source of the 14 million number. –dlthewave 15:53, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
The source for the Hill was the Pew study. Again it is common to cite the primary source that the secondary source is talking about. PackMecEng (talk) 15:58, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm comfortable with the current version which clearly states which numbers are sourced to whom. –dlthewave 16:04, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Possible illegal campaign coordination between Trump and NRA[edit]

This has been touched on before and is apparently resurfacing. I think the material currently in the article should be updated accordingly.

" “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” said Ann Ravel, a former chair of the FEC who reviewed the records. “It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.” "
— The Trace

- MrX 🖋 13:21, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

I think it makes sense to add. There is no proof so DUE needs to be considered. Also, The Trace is an anti-gun "news" agency set up as part of Michael Bloomberg's anti gun activism. It shouldn't be treated as a RS. That shouldn't matter given the number of other sources available. Springee (talk) 13:44, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Edits to the article need to make it clear that these are accusations made by a gun control advocacy group in a complaint to the FEC. The news stories are repeating the contents of the complaint. I think adding to the 2016 section that a complaint was filled and it accused collaboration via coordinated media buys would work. Springee (talk) 13:59, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
The Trace may not be a news agency that Wikipedia would normally quote, but Mother Jones is, and they are reporting the same thing. [39] I think we should add something, keeping it brief and making it clear that this is only an allegation. -- MelanieN (talk) 15:49, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
We would have to attribute it to Mother Jones if we use them. Are there any sources out there that we could use that we would not have to attribute? PackMecEng (talk) 16:05, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
The Bloomberg source wouldn't need to be attributed. There's also a Fortune article, Trump Campaign and NRA Illegally Coordinated During Presidential Election, Watchdog Groups Say, that could be used. –dlthewave 16:35, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Yup I think those two would do. We would not have to attribute to them, though we would have to attribute the claim to the two watchdogs making it. PackMecEng (talk) 16:38, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Those two sources, IIRC, are stating what the complaint alleges. They are not independently verifying the complaint. Springee (talk) 16:54, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah that is what I mean, the complaint would have to attributed to the groups since they are not verified yet. PackMecEng (talk) 17:02, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

With the arrest and cooperation deal of the russian spy, this is likely to get more play. Legacypac (talk) 18:55, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

Year of the Shooting of Philando Castile[edit]

This article seems to incorrectly state that the Philando Castile shooting occurred in 2017. The shooting actually happened in July 2016. Am I somehow missing something? It seems that the year should be changed to 2016

DiscoStu42 (talk) 08:32, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Fixed Face-smile.svg Thank you 22:11, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

The NRA membership claim[edit]

They do have 6 million members please do not lie Gun Boyyz (talk) 21:45, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

  • Springee, I think you know this subject matter better than me. Gun Boyyz, if you have no reliable secondary sources to offer, please don't edit that bit of the article. And if you don't understand why we'd need reliable secondary sources, please follow the links in the template I'm about to put on your user page--links that will explain to you what Wikipedia is and how it works. Drmies (talk) 22:03, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I think we can say they claim to have 6 million members, but we cannot use an SPS for a claim of fact, only opinion.Slatersteven (talk) 12:16, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Problem we have now is that the lede and infobox disagree, using two different pages in the NRA site as sources. The source for the lede is probably more recent, but probably less official. Both are self-claimed. I don't have an opinion on which to use (and they're probably both incorrect); but consistency would be nice. O3000 (talk) 12:28, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
We make it clear it is an unsubstantiated self claim, not seeing an issue.Slatersteven (talk) 12:31, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree we definitely need all instances in the article to agree. As for which number to use, I would suggest we use what ever seems like the most definiative statement by the NRA. So a statement on the website would be more definitive vs say a statement made in an interview or public presentation. Thus if the 6 million comes from a presentation quote while the 5.x million comes from an "about the NRA" statement on the website, let's use the latter. I think we need to be careful with statements like "unsubstantiated" in the text without additional context. As was discussed above the primary location for this information is the membership section of the article. In the info box we had discussed using a footnote after the self reported statement. The footnote would then link to the membership discussion. I think the same could be applied to the opening paragraph. Springee (talk) 13:31, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Sounds good. O3000 (talk) 13:36, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree that "about the NRA" is the better source. Interestingly, that page states "nearly 5 million" in the body and "more than 5 million" in the blurb that appears at the bottom of all NRA.org pages. There's support for the footnote from all sides, so I think it would be appropriate to add one after "self reported" with the clarification that the NRA does not publish official membership statistics, does not allow others to verify the numbers that they do provide, and that the numbers have been questioned. –dlthewave 14:29, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Well despite a rough start I think we are reaching a consensus. Hats off to all! Does anyone have a suggestion for the text of the footnote and which membership statement we should use? Springee (talk) 14:42, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

Well suggested text

"The NRA have claimed a membership of between 5 and 6 million" (as per the source).Slatersteven (talk) 14:44, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

  • I reverted a change to the lead that added comments about the membership numbers not being confirmed. As was discussed above this should be handled with a footnote. Springee (talk) 20:42, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
The discussion relates to a footnote for the infobox 5 or 6 million, not the lede. But you know that already as an active contributor to the discussion. Stop being disruptive. Legacypac (talk) 20:56, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
You have to squint really hard to think that we only meant the weasel phrase shouldn't be in the info box but was ok in the lead. Perhaps you could be productive and implement the Fitbit change rather than making bad faith accusations. Springee (talk) 21:21, 13 December 2018 (UTC)


  • Guys I don't want to have to full-protect this page again. Then I have to remember to come back and reset the semiprotection in however many days I set the protection for, and I have to monitor the talk page for edit requests and any consensus developing, and I just really don't want to do it to be honest. I don't care enough about this topic to put that kind of energy in. Can you please discuss things first and stop reverting each other? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 21:12, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Survey, NRA membership statement in lead[edit]

Should we use the same phasing and footnote when describing the NRA's membership numbers on the lead as is being used in the info box? Springee (talk) 21:25, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

  • Support Seems an obvious alignment with the consensus way to handle the information. Springee (talk) 21:25, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose a silly question. We don't have the space constraints of the infobox in the lede text. We can explain. The text that is there is fine. Stop changing things that are fine just because the text does not fit the NRA narrative. Legacypac (talk) 21:36, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment - this question isn't especially informative. I assume it refers to this sentence stating that the NRA membership figures "cannot be independently confirmed"? That statement cites two reliable sources which directly question the accuracy of that number. I'm a little puzzled by the complaint here: the claim is well sourced and relevant. I can't think of any policy-based reason to use the exact same phrasing in the article text that we use in the info-box. What exactly is the objection? Nblund talk 21:49, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
The phrase "cannot be independently confirmed" is Weasel as it puts an implied accusation in Wikipedia voice. The EAA also self reports membership numbers but we don't say their numbers can't be confirmed. Ignoring questions of weight for inclusion in the lead, what we have is a few sources questioning the membership number. That's fine. We can just say NRA claim X. Some sources question this number (link to membership section). That sort of phrasing preserves neutral voice. Springee (talk) 23:24, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Well, there's no question about whether or not the number is independently verified. It isn't. In addition to the currently cited sources, The Washington Post's Factchecker, MotherJones, Time, USA Today, Business Insider, The BBC all mention that the number is uncertain and unverifiable, so I'm really not sure why Wikipedia wouldn't do the same. Nblund talk 00:06, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
If you want to add similar words to Experimental Aircraft Association provide the cites that question their membership numbers. Legacypac (talk) 01:07, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
Lets review those sources. WP: That is a 5 year old article. It makes basically the same arguments that Newsweek made. They looked at the number of magazines delivered. That article also ended with, "(Reminder: One Pinocchio indicates omission or exaggeration but no outright falsehood.)" I will grant this is an independent questioning vs simply saying "source X said". MJ, a source that is hostile to the NRA concentrated only on the gap between magazine deliveries and claimed membership numbers. The Time article doesn't seem to really criticize the numbers at all. Early on the article includes this quote, "But outside the gun control debate in Washington, membership in the NRA and gun rights groups across the country, which includes more than five million Americans, is spiking, according to people familiar with the numbers. The USA Today story is about a subject that absolutely should be in the this article, it's about the state of NY pressuring banks to not work with the NRA. Even the ACLU has raised first amendment concerns with that one.[[40]] BTW, that USA Today article only says this about the membership numbers, "For years, the NRA has boasted about its large membership, which it claims to be about 5 million, though actual figures have never been released. " BI is like the USA Today article and just says NRA says 5 million but doesn't release the numbers. The BBC provides an example of a reasonable way to report the information here. It simply states what the NRA claims and that others put the number lower and accuse the NRA of inflation, "The association claimed that membership surged to close to five million people in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook school, but some analysts put the figure at closer to three million. The organisation has been accused of artificially inflating the figure." Springee (talk) 03:24, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
You're missing the point: other methods of estimating the NRAs membership numbers may be unreliable, but it is a fact that they their membership claims can't be independently verified. No one disputes that this is a fact. It is also potentially worth mentioning that some have suggested the number is exaggerated, but - however we do it - we need to communicate to readers that they should take this figure with a grain of salt. Nblund talk 17:48, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
Then lets go with that"...but it has been accused on inflating its membership numbers."Slatersteven (talk) 11:20, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose and keep the current wording or its functional equivalent: According to the NRA, it has nearly 5 million members as of December 2018, although that figure cannot be independently confirmed. A more thorough discussion of the discrepancies/unverifiability should also be added to the "Membership" section. Unlike other organizations, the NRA's self-published numbers do not meet the WP:ABOUTSELF requirement that "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity", so it is entirely appropriate to include the views of reliable sources on the matter. –dlthewave 02:49, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
Would you be OK with more neutral phrasing? Though I don't think it should be in the lead, if we are going to have it there I think phrasing stating that the NRA claim has been challenged is neutral. Saying something is unverified in Wikivoice suggests that it is untrue. Either it is untrue (ie we have actual proof) or we just have some sources that say it isn't. Again, saying in WP:Wikivoice that it's unverified could be applied to any self reported claim and I think in every case we would say it would suggest to the reader that the claim isn't true. What about something like this:
According to the NRA, it has nearly 5 million members as of December 2018 though the number of members has been question.[Footnote to membership section]]
This still makes it clear that third parties have questioned the claimed without using an expression of doubt in Wikivoice (a violation of MOS:ALLEGED). Springee (talk) 03:02, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
No, the sentence is well sourced. The NRA will not let anyone verify their numbers. The only other org I can quickly think of with a similar issue is Church of Scientology. Of course different sources use similar points to say the member numbers are likely inflated. The Newsweek source is the best I've seen complete with ex employee quotes confirming the inflation. Legacypac (talk) 05:02, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
That's not a sound argument once you add a bit of common sense. To allow someone to check their numbers would result in sharing member lists. Do you honestly think members would be happy to have the NRA turn their names over to the likes of Mother Jones? The Newsweek article also included experts who explained why some of the methods used to guess the actual membership numbers may not work. Springee (talk) 11:15, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Legacypac and Dlthewave.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 09:55, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Neutral I am in two minds, it is clear this is only their numbers, and has not been verified. At the same time it is also OR to say it.Slatersteven (talk) 11:11, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

Sources supporting the claim that the NRA membership numbers can't be verified:

  • Time: "Wayne LaPierre announced that May that the organization’s membership had reached 5 million, although that claim is impossible to independently verify since membership rolls and figures are not publicly released."
  • Washington Post "On the face of it, the NRA’s membership claim appears at least a tad exaggerated"
  • USA Today "For years, the NRA has boasted about its large membership, which it claims to be about 5 million, though actual figures have never been released."
  • Business Insider "The NRA does not publish its membership numbers but has said at various times that it has 5 million members."
  • The BBC "The association claimed that membership surged to close to five million people in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook school, but some analysts put the figure at closer to three million. The organisation has been accused of artificially inflating the figure."
  • Newsweek "The gun group boasts a membership of 5 million people—more or less. It doesn’t regularly report its membership numbers or allow an outside party to verify its public claims. That lack of transparency breeds NRA doubters."
  • Mother Jones "The NRA has never provided solid numbers on how many members it has, yet a look at what data is out there suggests that its claims may be wide of the mark"

Nblund talk 17:49, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

Russian spying[edit]

New info came out yesterday and is likely to keep coming out. Reverting additions of new info [41] citing concensus is not appropriate. Legacypac (talk) 19:22, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

The new information does not pertain to the NRA. It may be relevant to the Russian 2016 election article but it adds nothing new here. Springee (talk) 20:39, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree. Not relevant to this article. -- MelanieN (talk) 20:40, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

@Soibangla:, your edit had been challenged and currently we don't have consensus for inclusion. Please justify the additional material. What you added is not about the NRA. This material was extensively discussed a few months back. Springee (talk) 23:18, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

You challenged it because you assert it is not about the NRA. As I explained in the edit summary, the WSJ confirms it is about the NRA, and I provided the source to show it. soibangla (talk) 23:20, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
The additional material you added is not about the NRA. The source may mention the NRA but what you added doesn't. Springee (talk) 23:25, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
It plainly is about the NRA. The NRA is a central party to this entire matter, as extensive reporting over many months has clearly shown, and this particular edit is also about the NRA, as the WSJ source clearly indicates. soibangla (talk) 23:29, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
The WSJ article was from months back. We already discussed and covered that. Please see the archives for the consensus discussion. The material you added today was not about the NRA. It had no new information regarding the NRA and this news. Springee (talk) 23:35, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
You continue to falsely insist "The material you added today was not about the NRA." In fact it plainly is, and it is entirely relevant to the paragraph to which it was added.soibangla (talk) 23:41, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
What does the material you added have to do with the NRA. That she was trying to cultivate connections via the NRA was already covered. What new NRA related information did you add? Springee (talk) 23:48, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes it is clearly about the NRA (unnamed gun rights org) and it is cited. The NRA must be so proud of your Wikipedia based advocacy efforts Springee. Do they give you free membership at least for your efforts ? Legacypac (talk) 23:31, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
If you keep making comments like this I will take them to ANI where you will risk bring blocked again. Springee (talk) 23:44, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
There is ever-increasing reason to believe that you should not be allowed to edit this article. soibangla (talk) 23:47, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Then you better come up with a good reason otherwise please follow WP:CIVIL when editing. Springee (talk) 23:52, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
I already have provided a good reason, multiple times, and you have ignored it multiple times, and continued to falsely insist it does not relate to the NRA, hence the concern I just expressed. soibangla (talk) 23:54, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Topic banning Springee has been contemplated. Might be time to look at it again. Romoving his friend 72bikers has made this talkpage much better. Legacypac (talk) 00:02, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── No, you haven't. The material you added isn't new. It was discussed when we reached a consensus about the content of this section. What you added is more detail about the connections she was trying to cultivate, not additional information about the NRA's involvement. So no, you aren't adding new information about the NRA. Your edits may a apply to other articles but they run counter to the previous consensus here. Springee (talk) 23:59, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Show me where a consensus was reached that the specific content I added should be excluded. Considering that you have repeatedly, falsely insisted that the edit has nothing to do with the NRA, I am not inclined to believe your assertion of previous consensus. soibangla (talk) 00:03, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
Indeed the NRA is central to this as evidenced by the sentence that starts "Most notably, Butina’s Russian gun rights group “Right to Bear Arms” hosted a delagation of former NRA presidents, board members and major donors in Moscow in 2015,.... We should be selective about how we summarize the material so as not to burden readers with extraneous detail. - MrX 🖋 23:40, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Springee your plainly false statements are getting out of hand here. Please stop or we will need to make you stop. Legacypac (talk) 23:47, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Kindly discontinue your threats and hyperbole. See WP:CIVIL -- Frotz(talk) 14:42, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

In twi minds, whilst it does not it is ot about the NRA background about the activities (and more importantly the fiddlings that they were Russian agents) may be pertinent.Slatersteven (talk) 14:48, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

I believe when it was previously discussed the feeling was to include sufficient information here but primarily link to the primary article on the subject. Springee (talk) 14:52, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
I think the fact of proven links is pertinent.Slatersteven (talk) 15:44, 14 December 2018 (UTC)