The NRA is a known lobby organization that has done its best to influence politics over the good of the people. The GOP needs to work with gun owners over a lobby group. This will ensure that the needs of actual gun owners are being met, their rights are being protected, and that the big business that the NRA is pushing isn't causing more harm to gun owners.
Why on earth would anyone want to align with gun-toting psychopaths who blame TV and video games for violence as opposed to mental health? It's clear that the NRA itself has mental health issues because they don't completely understand the issue at hand. All they want to do is make it so they can use their rifles. Gun owners in general are a better option, since most of them simply have a pistol for which to defend themselves from monsters. Some have even used their pistols to kill monsters that were threatening to shoot places up. Those people are good to side with, especially since it's in our Second Amendment right. The NRA is a bunch of loonies who are too hard to take seriously, therefore siding with ordinary people is the ideal option.
Yes, the GOP should align with gun owners instead of the NRA.
The GOP is extremely out of touch with it's grassroots supporters and this would help them to gain some ground. Not to mention that the NRA has been painted by the media as a evil organization and it's better that the GOP places some distance between them and the NRA to not look bad by affiliation.
The GOP has never supported the efforts of individuals in creating and enforcing their own rights, so why should it start now? The value of the NRA to the GOP is that their grievous errors become those of the GOP, but it affords the GOP a shield from its own errors. The GOP has never been able to voice its opinion through individuals, and it requires the NRA to undertake its platforms.