9 Feb 2016 – The NRA is offering ‘free’ membership to under-21s – subject to a “one-off £25 registration fee”, according to its Facebook page. (update to this story at end)
While the £25 offer could not sensibly be described as ‘free membership’ the NRA continues to advertise it as such. This is despite the Committee on Advertising Practice’s code for non-broadcast advertising* stating, at section 3.24: “Marketing communications must not describe items as ‘free’ if the consumer has to pay packing, packaging, handling or administration charges for the ‘free’ product.”
Full NRA membership was £74.30 last year.
Membership benefits for U21s include the ability to hire targets at Bisley without going via a club, use the NRA as one’s primary club for FAC purposes, and – for U25s as well as U21s – a 40% discount on NRA probationary training courses.
The NRA’s 5-module probationary course costs a total of £475, or a mere £284 if you’re under 25 years of age. U21s joining the NRA are therefore expected to cough up £309 just to get to the stage where they can shoot without needing someone next to them to supervise.
UK Shooting News points out that the vast majority of rifle clubs provide probationary training as part of the membership fee, and also wonders exactly how many U21s have coughed up £300+ to the NRA and completed the full course.
* The CAP codes are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, which has no powers in law. Its main weapon of enforcement is to embarrass offenders by publishing their names.
Compare and contrast this offer with the original “free for U21s” offer which was in last year’s Bisley Bible. That one, at least, was genuinely free.