Gun owners joined the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association in droves last year, making the group the largest state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, according to the state-based group. NYSRPA President Tom King said membership numbers leapt from the mid-20,000s to more than 41,000 in 2013.
Gun rights activists have been at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some state lawmakers since the passage of the SAFE Act in late 2012, a potential factor behind the increase in membership. King attributed the growth to a combination of gun owners looking to protect their rights and a desire to join the association’s ongoing lawsuit against the legislation. “They need somebody to protect their rights,” he said. “But they all want to be a party to it, too. They want to be able to say, ‘We helped do this. We were there. We donated for it. We were part of the organization that did it.’ ”
National NRA membership has jumped since the Newtown, Conn., shooting that spurred the SAFE Act. The association surpassed the 5-million mark midway through 2013, according to reports.