Call it ammunition for the gun lobby's meeting with Vice President Joe Biden this afternoon, but according to Politico's Playbook, the National Rifle Association accrued at least 100,000 new members since December 23:

NRA TELLS PLAYBOOK it has gained over 100,000 new paid members in the past 18 days (Newtown shooting was Dec. 14), from 4.1 million to 4.2 million: “Our goal is to get to 5 million before this debate is over.”

A couple things stick out here:

  • Many people remain wary of the group's total number of members: as we noted in December, the NRA often disagrees with itself on how many people paid membership dues to the group
  • We're also curious about how many individuals cancelled their N.R.A. membership since the shootings last month. We've reached out to the group's press office and will update if we hear back.
  • Politico cites $25 as the price of an individual membership — which entitles one to "a choice of three gifts: Rosewood Handle Knife, Black & Gold Duffel Bag or Digital Camo Duffel Bag" — but according to the group's website you can join the N.R.A. for as little as $10.
  • Here's one reason these numbers came out today: the group is meeting with Biden at 1:45 p.m. to discuss the Obama administration's ideas about gun control. Indeed, their leak to Politico functioned as a press release of sorts:

THE NRA’S MESSAGE FOR BIDEN, per an official: “We are willing to talk to policymakers about any reasonable proposals and plans. However, the NRA is hearing not just from Beltway elites and the chattering class, but real Americans all over the country that are hoping the NRA is not going to compromise on any of the principles of the Second Amendment, nor are we going to support banning guns. But we’re willing to listen."