AP: Idaho schools received $992,000 from NRA

The National Rifle Association gave more than $7.3 million to schools and school groups between 2010 and 2016, according to an Associated Press analysis of public tax records.

And Idaho schools were a big recipient. All told, 90 Idaho schools and school groups received more than $992,000 during the seven-year period, according to the AP’s analysis. That means Idaho received about 13 percent of the NRA cash donations — and Idaho accounts for about 18 percent of the schools and school groups that received NRA donations. (We have broken down the AP’s data analysis on Idaho into a spreadsheet; click here to access the numbers.)

More talking points from the AP story — which is available here in full, along with all of the AP’s data.

  • Most of the money went to competitive grants to promote shooting sports. Recipients include Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, rifle teams, hunting safety courses, and agriculture clubs.
  • While some businesses have severed ties with the NRA, in the aftermath of the fatal shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school, few schools seem interested in following suit. “Whatever I think of the NRA, they’re providing legitimate educational services,” said Billy Townsend, a school board member in Florida’s Polk County district, told the AP. Polk County’s JROTC programs received $33,000, primarily to buy air rifles.
  • The NRA’s money seemed to follow America’s political divide. Nearly three-quarters of the grant recipients are based in counties that supported President Trump in the 2016 election.

With bipartisan backing, the Idaho House passed a bill last week to encourage schools to offer elective gun safety courses. The bill does not fund the classes, which could be designed by law enforcement agencies, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game or advocacy groups such as the NRA.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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