The NRA calls its website the NRA Digital Network (nra.org). It contains nine high-definition video channels, news on legislation about your right to keep and bear arms and a “Thank you for visiting — explore and enjoy” greeting. In terms of design and features, it is as good as any site on the Web. The NRA’s position as a master of communications is no where more evident than online.
The NRA clearly knows as well as any corporation or nonprofit that the Internet has become a preferred path to reach a huge audience. It has cleverly avoided the message that open access to arms is its primary goal. The most in-depth section on the site is on “Hunting and Shooting,” complete with sections for novices and experts. Another section covers “Competitive Shooting.” Oddly enough, that area of the site continues to carry a sponsorship program from Smith & Wesson, which has tried to keep a low profile since the Newtown shootings. Perhaps the NRA is a safe haven for its messages. They sit comfortably next to a promotion for Oliver North’s new book “Heroes Proved.”
The NRA does a particularly good job of aligning itself with two of its most critical allies — the military and law enforcement. If either group wants to be praised on the Internet, the NRA website is the place to visit. In turn, the association correctly assumes that these two groups will support its initiatives. The police believe, perhaps correctly, that to battle guns requires guns, particularly those that are properly registered.
Safe gun use is also at the center of the site’s set of messages. With the proper educating and training about guns, why should anyone every be hurt by firearms? The most fun part of the NRA site is the e-commerce section, where visitors can shop for NRA tee shirts and other NRA labeled products. The Facebook and Twitter accesses are particularly well done also.
If online presence is any indication of the sophistication of an organization’s ability to get its message to the public in as positive way as possible, the National Rifle Association Network can hardly be bested.
By the way, do not leave the site without making a $10, $25, $50 or $100 donation.
Contributions, gifts or membership dues made or paid to the National Rifle Association of America are not refundable or transferable and are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.
No deduction? Too bad.
Douglas A. McIntyre