The National Rifle Association doesn’t make its demographic makeup public, although you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t concede it is overwhelmingly white, conservative, and male. (Gun ownership data published by Pew Research seems to support this.) But lately, it seems like the NRA’s leadership is especially interested in courting a new and very vocal demographic with considerable household influence: moms.
But why? In recent months, grassroots organizations like Moms Demand Action and its parent fund, Everytown, have emerged as potential thorns in the side of the gun lobby, notching hundreds of thousands of members. “People respond to fear and emotion,” Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action after the Sandy Hook shootings, told Fast Company a few months ago. “That’s why I feel moms are so important: Because we bring an emotion as well.”
The group’s success may explain the NRA’s latest marketing efforts. Take the association’s latest ad, “Insult,” which takes aim at Everytown sponsor and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg:
And here is how Watts is depicted in a hit piece published in the NRA’s official magazine:
Furthermore, Media Matters reported that at this year’s annual NRA meeting in April, there seemed to be a concerted push to attract women to its ranks:
Red schwag set the tone. At tables throughout the complex, NRA staffers handed out “I’m an NRA MOM” buttons and T-shirts. At the building’s main entrance hung an enormous banner of a woman, looking a little pouty, next to a populist taunt of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently said he would spend big on behalf of the gun safety movement.
According to some metrics, though, female gun-ownership may have already been on the upswing. A Gallup poll from August 2012–a few months before Moms Demand Action was established–found gun ownership among women was up 13% from 2005.