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NRA Membership Surges By 100,000 In Wake Of Sandy Hook Shooting

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NRA MEMBERSHIP
In this Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, speaks during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting in Washington. The nation's largest gun-rights lobby is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) | AP

The National Rifle Association's paying member ranks have grown by 100,000 in the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the organization told Politico on Thursday.

In the days since the Dec. 14 massacre -- in which a gunman armed with a military-style assault weapon and high-capacity magazines shot and killed 26 people, including 20 young children -- the NRA's membership increased from 4.1 million to 4.2 million, Politico's Mike Allen reports. New members must pay a fee of $25, and in return get access to NRA events and a free gift.

In the week after the shooting, Fox News reported that the NRA was claiming an average of 8,000 new members a day. High-profile mass shootings are often followed by periods of increased interest in the NRA, but representatives said this rate was higher than usual.

As the NRA increases its overall membership, there have also been isolated reports of former members abandoning the organization following a controversial press conference by its top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, in which he argued that more guns were needed in schools to prevent future mass shootings.

The NRA has since decided to take a more active roll in President Barack Obama's initiative to prevent gun violence. On Thursday, a representative for the group sat down with Vice President Joe Biden, leader of the White House task force, to discuss ways to address the issue.

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