NRA and Some of Its Board Members Have Direct Financial Interests in Stopping Ban on High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines

For Release: Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Board members of the National Rifle Association and its affiliated organization the NRA Foundation, as well as the NRA’s lobbying division, have a financial interest in allowing the continued sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in the Arizona mass shooting according to a just-released investigation by the Washington, DC-based Center for Public Integrity (CPI). The article, “High-Capacity Magazine Sellers Raise Millions for NRA,” is available at

Following release of the CPI investigation, Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center (VPC), stated, “The NRA’s opposition to a ban on high-capacity magazines isn’t about protecting millions of gun owners, but protecting millions of dollars for its board members and itself. Given that the NRA’s coffers benefit directly from the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, it’s easy to understand why the NRA opposes any proposal to regulate them.”

The Center for Public Integrity investigation, with subsequent additional research by the Violence Policy Center, reveals the following.

–NRA board member Pete Brownell owns Brownells Inc., which sells a wide-range of high-capacity ammunition magazines for pistols and assault weapons, including the same capacity Glock magazine as the 33-round magazine used in the Arizona shooting. Brownells also manufactures high-capacity ammunition magazines.

On his website supporting his campaign to join the NRA’s board, Brownell states, “Having directors who intimately understand and work in leadership positions within the firearms industry ensures the NRA’s focus is honed on the overall mission of the organization. These individuals bring a keen sense of the industry and of the bigger fight to the table.” Brownells, which describes itself as the “world’s largest supplier of firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools,” also sponsors the NRA’s National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors.

–Brenda Potterfield serves as vice-president of the NRA Foundation’s board of trustees and is co-owner of MidwayUSA, which through its “Round-Up” program has raised millions of dollars for the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA).

Like Brownells, MidwayUSA sells a wide range of high-capacity ammunition magazines for pistols and assault weapons, including 33-round magazines for Glock pistols. The Potterfields are the founders of the NRA “Round-Up” Program, which since 1992 has asked customers “to ‘Round-Up’ the total of each order and donate the change to the NRA/ILA.” Since the program’s inception, MidwayUSA has collected more than $5.7 million for the NRA’s lobbying efforts. On its website, MidwayUSA states that other “shooting industry” companies have followed their lead, resulting in a total of more than 7.5 million dollars contributed to the NRA from “shooting industry” companies (MidwayUSA and others) since 1992. MidwayUSA claims to stock, “Just about everything for shooting, reloading, gunsmithing and hunting.”

–NRA board member Ronnie Barrett owns Barrett, which manufactures an AR-15 style assault rifle which comes with two 30-round ammunition magazines. Ronnie Barrett is best known for the invention and civilian marketing of the 50 caliber sniper rifle: a military weapon used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that can penetrate armor-plating from a mile away and down airliners on take-off and landing, but under federal law is sold with no greater restrictions than a standard hunting rifle. Barrett also manufactures and sells the REC7, an AR-15 style assault rifle that comes with two 30-round magazines.

Also today, the Violence Policy Center released a report, “Accessories to Murder,” which shows the variety of high-capacity magazines the gun industry currently markets to its shrinking customer base. (Read “Accessories to Murder: High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines,” at

Last week, the VPC released a report on high-capacity magazines used in 10 of America’s most notorious mass shootings. (Read “Ten Examples of High-Profile Mass Shootings in the United States Involving High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines,” at

About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
(202) 822-8200 x104