So you want a gun permit for an ordinary gun, perhaps a .22. In many states you need a permit, and that requires a gun safety course. To take a gun safety course, you need to go to a shooting range. And in all states regardless of the law, if you own a gun, you should know how to shoot it and keep it safe. Unless you have prior experience this usually means going to the shooting range.
When you get there you learn that many shooting ranges, including many shooting ranges that offer gun safety courses needed to get a permit, require you to join the NRA in order to use the facility. Yes -- if you want to find a practical way to legally own a gun and know how to use it safely, you have to join the NRA. Lawyers are not required to join the ABA to practice law. Few law firms require their members to join the ABA. But shooting a gun is different -- the same people who talk so much about the Second Amendment want to make you join the NRA in order to own, and learn how to safely shoot, a gun.
So if you are in for a penny you are in for a pound. If you want to hunt or to shoot clay pigeons with a .22, you have to pay the NRA. You have to support the NRA's lobbying for easy access to semi-automatic weapons and for freedom to take those weapons into parks, shopping malls and movie theatres.
In antitrust law, we call this a "tying arrangement" -- to get the product that you want you have to buy the product that you don't want. Using this arrangement, shooting ranges that collude with the NRA can easily get the NRA's membership up to 4 million people. This tying arrangement may not violate antitrust laws -- I will leave that question to the antitrust law experts -- but it tells us something about where the NRA finds some of the "supporters" that it claimed to have at its news conference today.