Brownells To Donate To Firearms Policy Foundation

I received a press release yesterday from Roy Hill with Brownells. It was announcing that Brownells will donate 2% of sales on American-made products from yesterday until July 4th to the Firearms Policy Foundation. You can read the full release at the end of this post. I applaud them for doing this as I think the Firearms Policy Foundation is a great organization and I have donated to them multiple times. They are the 501(c)(3) component of the Firearms Policy Coalition.

Now think about this. The Chairman of Brownells is Pete Brownell. He is a former president of the National Rifle Association and was a board member for many years. He has been rather quiet as the controversies surrounding the NRA have played out over the last couple of years. By contrast, Larry Potterfield of Midway-USA seems to have bought into Wayne LaPierre’s line that nothing is wrong and all has been put right. While I am not knocking Mr. Potterfield, I think it speaks volumes that Brownells is donating to the the Firearms Policy Foundation and not to the NRA or its foundation.

The full press release is below:

GRINNELL, Iowa (June 22, 2021) – Brownells will take a stand for freedom and declare support for the Second Amendment by donating 2% of sales on American-made products from June 22 through July 4, 2021 to the Firearms Policy Foundation.

The Firearms Policy Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that supports the charitable legal, research, and education programs of the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and FPC Law, the nation’s first and largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

“FPF and FPC have been effective partners in the defense of freedom,” said Brownells Chairman of the Board Pete Brownell. “Freedom is never free, and over these 13 days, your purchase helps defend our gun rights.”

“We are honored to have the Brownell family and Brownells team standing with us in this incredibly important and pivotal time,” said FPF Chairman and FPC President Brandon Combs. “Their generous support of our work to defend the rights of the People and expand liberty evidences their resolute commitment to the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms and will allow us to apply critical resources to issues that affect millions of law-abiding people.”

The FPF is a key contributor to many important pro-rights efforts, including a Second Amendment challenge to California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Miller v. Bonta) that resulted in a post-trial judgment and permanent injunction against the challenged regulations, the first such victory in United States history, as well as recently filed challenges to Nevada’s new confiscatory ban on home-built firearms (Palmer v. Sisolak) and Illinois’ ban on handgun carry by law-abiding adults under the age of 21 (Meyer v. Raoul). 

To learn more about how to support the restoration and expansion of freedom, liberty and gun rights, visit the Brownells “Take Action” page.

Someone Is Going Under The Bus

The New York Times ran a story by Danny Hakim regarding the financing of the “Russia trip”. It appeared in Thursday’s paper. The “Russia trip” was a visit to Moscow organized by Maria Butina. It was attended by former NRA President David Keene, then-1st VP Pete Brownell, Sheriff David Clarke, and some other board members. The trip was for the purpose of building stronger ties between the NRA and gun-rights supporters in Russia.

The financing of the trip has been of interest to both Congressional investigators and to NY Attorney General Letitia James. There have been a complicated series of personal checks and reimbursements which has attracted their attention. According to the article, the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III has asserted in internal presentations that “those involved had exposed themselves to wire fraud charges.” Other attorneys disagreed with this assertion.

Brewer is also asserting that Wayne LaPierre was opposed to the trip. This, however, is contradicted by emails from the time which marked trip-related invoices as “Wayne approved”.

While the whole financing issue is of interest to investigators, it is what is buried in this story that caught my attention. In other words, the story within the story. It concerns the bureaucratic infighting between some of LaPierre’s closest associates.

The invoices for the trip were overseen by LaPierre’s closest aide Millie Hallow.

The 2016 transactions were overseen by Millie Hallow, an aide to Mr. LaPierre, according to emails. In one February 2016 email, Ms. Butina sent an invoice directly to Ms. Hallow for “Hosting of NRA leadership group for six days in Moscow,” according to the document, and thanked her “for your invaluable advice these past few months.”

In a May 26 email that year, Ms. Hallow told other N.R.A. officials that an invoice related to the trip submitted by Mr. Brownell’s company, the firearms retailer Brownells, had been authorized: “Wayne approved these special projects involving Outreach that Brownell has done,” she wrote.

Now it appears that Josh Powell, Chief of Staff to LaPierre, is trying to throw Millie under the bus.

On Thursday, Josh Powell, the N.R.A.’s chief of staff, said in a statement that “in order to facilitate the transfer of funds to Brownell, Millie falsely stated that Wayne approved of certain expenses when he had not. In fact, Millie apologized to me (and others) later for the misrepresentation.”

You may remember that in late July I did a blog post regarding Millie Hallow. It detailed how she had been convicted of felony embezzlement while directing the DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities. My impression was that had been kept a closely guarded secret. I had NRA board members tell me they didn’t know Ms. Hallow was a convicted felon until that post was published.

It now appears that someone wants that information in the public domain.

But Ms. Hallow is one of Ms. LaPierre’s closest aides, and raising questions about her credibility comes at an inopportune time. The N.R.A. is relying on her word in its battle with Oliver North, the organization’s former president, who stepped down this year shortly after making a call to Ms. Hallow that N.R.A. officials described as threatening toward Mr. LaPierre. Ms. Hallow also once pleaded guilty to a felony related to the theft of money from an arts agency she ran in Washington. (emphasis mine)

It would be interesting to know which one of Hakim’s sources pointed that out to him. It does serve the purposes of Josh Powell but the question remains whether he is smart enough to made use of it. I don’t see it serving the purpose of Brewer as he needs her to be a credible witness against Ollie North. That is, unless it is more important to protect LaPierre in the Russia investigation than it is to continue the fight against Ollie North. If that is the case then there is a lot more substance to this whole Russia fiasco than we previously thought and it is a lot more dangerous to the personal fortune of LaPierre. Time will tell.

Perceptive Comment On Walmart Ammo Decision

If anyone knows the small firearms retailer, it would be Brownells. They have worked with gunsmiths since time immemorial. Jim Shepherd of the Outdoor Wires had an editorial today on the implications of the Walmart decision which is well worth a read.

In the editorial, he quoted Pete Brownell regarding Walmart’s move.

“It’s really a time of opportunity for small retailers,” Pete Brownell of the eponymous Brownells told me yesterday, “the core of our industry, small retailers are going to have an opportunity to get back some of the business lost by a retailer that focuses on squeezing the margins, not selling based on knowledge, experience and affinity.”


“To me,” he says, “it’s actually good news, although it’s never all good news when any company starts to give in to social pressure.”


He’s right on both points. Granted, some consumers will lose the ability to hit a Walmart for a box of rifle shells, diapers, orange juice and sodas. But they’ll now have a valid reason to go back to the stores where the shelves and displays are full of products they actually enjoy.

Brownell is correct. This is an opportunity for the Mom and Pop gun stores. That is, if they play it right. By right, I mean have deals on bulk ammo and reasonable prices on the rest.