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Donations to the NRA tripled following Parkland massacre

The National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks Feb. 22 during the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Donations to a PAC belonging to the NRA were up 200 percent in February. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Donations to a PAC belonging to the National Rifle Association were up 200 percent in February, compared to the month before. This came during a month of increasing criticism of the NRA, following the mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Within 10 days of the shooting, nearly a dozen companies had publicly severed ties with the NRA. However, this boycott was contrasted by a rise in both memberships and donations.

During the month of January, the NRA received nearly $248,000, but in February that number rose to $779,000.

The massacre took place Feb. 14. According to numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics, itemized contributions of $200 or more from the last two weeks in February were twice that of the first two weeks, and in the week after the shooting alone, the number of people contributing to the NRA rose by 500 percent.

February’s donations were the most of any month since March 2017. These numbers are based on the NRA’s filings with the Federal Election Commission, and include only donations to the NRA Political Victory Fund. This PAC donates to political campaigns, but does not represent all of the NRA’s income. During the 2016 campaign season, the NRA spent more than $50 million combined on six key U.S. Senate races and on President Donald Trump’s campaign.

While the data shows a strong correlation between the time of the shooting and the increase in donations, it does not show if the shooting itself caused the bump in donations, or if it was caused by other factors.

In the weeks following the shooting, after briefly keeping a low profile, the NRA put out six times the advertising. It also received a lot of — albeit mostly negative — media attention.

The increase could also be related to President Donald Trump expressing his openness to certain types of gun control legislation, or to a rise in pro-gun control protests, or an increase in gun control measures being debated on the state level.

In the week after the shooting, Trump promised action, saying: “We're going to come up with solutions. It's been many, many years, and there have been no solutions. We're going to come up with solutions.”

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