NRA membership vs Facebook gun groups : No Compromise In Episode 2, hear how the Dorr brothers have used Facebook Live to grow their fanbase and convert disaffected NRA members over to their side. It has to do with social media savvy, expensive suits, red flag laws, and making their fans feel seen and heard in a way the NRA simply can't.
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The Facebook Flock

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The Facebook Flock

The Facebook Flock

The Facebook Flock

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Carolyn Ricker, of Newnan, Ga., says she likes to watch Facebook videos from her favorite no-compromise gun group while she sews. Kaitlin Kolarik for WABE hide caption

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Kaitlin Kolarik for WABE

Carolyn Ricker, of Newnan, Ga., says she likes to watch Facebook videos from her favorite no-compromise gun group while she sews.

Kaitlin Kolarik for WABE

The pro-gun Dorr brothers and their friends control an online network of Facebook groups with hundreds of thousands of followers.

To understand how they built it, reporters Lisa Hagen of WABE in Atlanta, Ga. and Chris Haxel of KCUR in Kansas City, Mo. examine a massive portfolio of Facebook Live videos.

While the National Rifle Association reportedly spent as much as $20 million per year on its own online streaming network, which it eventually shuttered, the Dorrs have used Facebook's free platform to build a strong personal connection with their followers.

Carolyn Ricker of Newnan, Ga. says watching the videos on the Georgia Gun Owners' Facebook page feels like being a part of a virtual community. She lost trust in the NRA in 2018 when it whispered its willingness to compromise on gun control in the form of red flag laws, which allow temporary removal of guns from people thought to pose a threat.

When she asked the organization to take a harder stance, she says she was ignored, but the NRA did keep asking for her money. On the other hand, the head of her local no-compromise group, a growing movement that rejects any regulation of firearms and includes the Dorr brothers, regularly rails against red flag laws. And she likes that he answers her phone calls.

Her gratitude is echoed by two fans of the Dorr group in Missouri: John and Carla Burke. They recently moved from Illinois — a state with relatively tight restrictions on firearms — in part because they were looking for a state with lax gun laws.

At their home near the Lake of The Ozarks, the couple feels free to shoot guns off their back porch without worrying about complaints from the neighbors. And while they rarely watch television, videos posted by Aaron Dorr for the Missouri no-compromise group, Missouri Firearms Coalition, are appointment viewing.

The growth of the Dorr brothers' audience on Facebook is relatively new. Over the years, the Dorrs have refined their techniques. Facebook and other social media platforms offer immediate feedback through view counts, likes and shares. This means content creators can iterate rapidly — if a particular post or video performs poorly, the brothers move on until they find something that works.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company encourages users to create live videos because "it's so unfiltered and personal, and you feel like you're just there hanging out with your friends."

As reporters Hagen and Haxel explore this network of Facebook groups, they come to realize that the Dorrs have found success by using Facebook exactly the way it was designed — just not for friendship.