Pete Brownell, President and CEO of Brownells, Inc and NRA board member, was interviewed at the SHOT Show by a reporter from ThinkProgress. I think they were trying for a repeat of their “report” supposedly indicating that a number of SHOT Show attendees didn’t see a need for standard capacity magazines. They failed.
ThinkProgress asked Mr. Brownell about a report from the Center for Public Integrity which tried to make a link between monetary support for the NRA and the NRA’s fight against restrictions on standard capacity magazines. The Center for Public Integrity bills itself as a center for investigative journalism in the public interest. The majority of their funding comes from foundations including, as you might guess, the Joyce Foundation.
The CPI report entitled “High-Capacity Magazine Sellers Raise Millions for NRA” attempted to portray the donations from MidwayUSA owners Larry and Brenda Potterfield as payoff of sorts to the NRA in exchange for lobbying against restrictions on magazine capacity. The report also noted that Pete Brownell and Ronnie Barrett serve on the NRA Board and Brenda Potterfield is on the Board of Directors of the NRA Foundation. Given that all three have companies that sell products that the anti’s love to hate, the report took this as prima facie evidence of the NRA kowtowing to “the gun industry.” They quote Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center as their authority on this.
When ThinkProgress questioned Mr. Brownell on connections between NRA stances and his service on the Board, he said:
The NRA has always been active in the public interest. They’ve been a defender of the Second Amendment. It’s not because of financial interest, it’s because they defend the Second Amendment, what the founders, the original people that wrote this, were intending, what they actually wrote down. So they defend the Second Amendment. They don’t necessarily say, “We’re going to do this because someone is writing me a check.” […]
We need leaders to lead organizations, and the one place they get leaders is the military. The other place they get leaders are politicians and really the third place they get them are entrepreneurs. You can’t just get leadership from one area because then you’ll become pretty myopic in that area as an organization.
Listening to the audio recording posted along with the ThinkProgress interview, you could almost hear the disappointment in the reporter’s voice that he hadn’t gotten another “gotcha” interview. Nonetheless, he couldn’t resist throwing in this little tidbit to conclude his article after Mr. Brownell said standard capacity magazines give the defender an advantage:
Indeed, high-capacity magazines are an advantage. And one such clip was an advantage for Jared Loughner in Tucson this month, who was subdued by attendees at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ) constituent event only after he stopped to reload his 31-bullet clip.
People with an agenda just don’t want to get it, do they?