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NRA Leaders by Ties

NRA Leaders' Links To Gun Industry

The following is a list of controversial statements and actions of NRA leaders regarding their ties to Gun Industry. NRA leaders are listed alphabetically by last name.

Bob Barr (Board Member)

In a June 20, 2012 op-ed for the Marietta Daily Journal, Barr wrote, “I am a real fan of handguns manufactured by Glock. And, for many years I have known Paul Jannuzzo.” Paul Jannuzzo, former CEO of Glock, Inc., a firearms manufacturer, fled the country first to Mexico, and then Amsterdam amid allegations of embezzlement. He was arrested in Amsterdam and extradited to the United States. In March 2012, Jannuzzo was convicted for racketeering and theft. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and thirteen on probation. Barr also stated that he wrote a letter of support for Jannuzzo prior to his sentencing.

Ronnie Barrett (Board Member)

Ronnie Barrett personally designed the first .50 caliber sniper rifle after observing a Browning machine gun mounted on a gunboat. This high-powered sniper rifle—available for sale on the civilian market—has an effective range of over a mile and can pierce armor. John C. Killorin, a former special agent in charge of the Atlanta field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), called Barrett’s rifle "a devastatingly powerful weapon against which most troops, most law enforcement, no civilians, have any means of defense.” Barrett, on the other hand, has described his invention as “a toy for a big boy.” In 2004, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) banned civilian ownership of the rifle. In 2005, U.S. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) and 28 cosponsors introduced legislation that would have placed stricter regulations on .50 caliber sniper rifles by placing them in the same federal regulatory class as machine guns. The 50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Reduction Act found that “the intended use of these long-range firearms…is the taking of human life and the destruction of materiel, including armored vehicles and such components of the national critical infrastructure as radars and microwave transmission devices, in addition 50 caliber sniper weapons pose a significant threat to civil aviation in that they are capable of destroying or disabling jet aircraft … The virtually unrestricted availability of these firearms and ammunition, given the uses intended in their design and manufacture, present a serious and substantial threat to the national security.”

In fact, a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle was used by the Branch Davidians during the 1993 Waco siege, forcing the FBI to use armored
Bradley fighting vehicles
before having to upgrade to even heavier armor. Smalls arms proliferation led to the acquisition of Barrett .50 sniper rifles by other terrorist organizations and extremist groups. Essam al-Ridi, a government witness during the trial of terrorists involved in the 1998 bombing of United States embassies in Africa, testified that he sold Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist organization 25 Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles in 1988 or 1989. The sale would have represented at least 15% of the total production of .50 caliber rifles for either of the two years in question. The Barrett .50 rifle was also used by IRA snipers to kill British police officers and Irish constables during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Barrett raises funds for the NRA Foundation by offering tours of the Barrett factory in exchange for a $1,000 donation.

Pete Brownell (Board Member)

Pete Brownell is the grandson of Brownells founder Bob Brownell and currently serves as the company’s president. Brownells is the world's largest supplier of firearm parts, gunsmithing tools, equipment and accessories. The company is part of the NRA’s corporate giving program and has donated enough money to be included in “The Ring of Freedom,” a designation reserved for NRA’s largest corporate donors. Brownells contributed between $500,000 and $999,999 to the NRA between 2005 and 2010. During his campaign to join the NRA board, Brownell highlighted his company’s close ties with the organization, saying, “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.
” Brownell, however, has claimed that he has no financial interest in the positions of the NRA.

John Burtt (Board Member)

Cam Edwards (NRA News Radio Host)

On the October 18, 2012 broadcast of “Cam & Company,” Edwards spoke to George Kollitides, CEO of Remington Arms. Discussing the 2012 presidential election, Kollitides stated, “I think this will be the most important election of our lifetime. The next president is going to be in an incredibly powerful position to appoint [U.S.] Supreme Court justices. It’s one thing to legislate a gun ban. That can always be overturned by a future president, a future Congress, and Congress can fight it, of course, and hope they don’t get vetoed and overruled. We’ve had the benefit of a strict interpretist Supreme Court which has been conservative and really held up the core traditional values of our country. So, I don’t necessarily just worry about the next four years of an [Barack] Obama presidency, I worry about my kids and my grandkids futures, because if we change face of the Supreme Court, we’re looking at a thirty-plus-year uphill battle.” Edwards replied, “Absolutely right … We are likely to see, over the next four years, whoever is president have the opportunity to put one perhaps as many as three or four justices on the Supreme Court and that will impact our lives for decades to come … We really can’t afford a court that is going to be hostile to gun owners.” Kollitides continued, stating, “Not only will the Second Amendment be under attack if we go to a liberal non-strict-interpretative court, but it’ll be the entire American way of life. When we appoint liberal judges, they take it upon themselves not to interpret the laws but to legislate the laws and there’s a lot of liberal courts doing that. So, the appeal needs to be not just to gun owners, although that’s obviously critically important…but I think many of the things we think about, all of our freedoms will be at risk. You know the liberal courts and the liberal politicians believe they know what’s best for Americans. They’re gonna tell us when we have to get health care. They’re gonna tell us what time we have to get out of bed every day. They’re gonna tell us where we have to go to work. They’re gonna take our money and redistribute it. This is an issue that every American needs to be worried about.” After Kollitides finished speaking, Edwards replied, “Absolutely.”

R. Lee Ermey (Board Member)

Ermey is a spokesman for Glock Firearms.

George Kollitides (Nominating Committee Member)

On the October 18, 2012 broadcast of “Cam & Company,” Cam Edwards spoke to George Kollitides, CEO of Remington Arms. Discussing the upcoming 2012 presidential election, Kollitides stated, “I think this will be the most important election of our lifetime. The next president is going to be in an incredibly powerful position to appoint {U.S.] Supreme Court justices. It’s one thing to legislate a gun ban. That can always be overturned by a future president, a future Congress, and Congress can fight it, of course, and hope they don’t get vetoed and overruled. We’ve had the benefit of a strict interpretist Supreme Court which has been conservative and really held up the core traditional values of our country. So, I don’t necessarily just worry about the next four years of an Obama presidency, I worry about my kids’ and my grandkids’ futures, because if we change face of the Supreme Court, we’re looking at a 30-plus-year uphill battle … Not only will the Second Amendment be under attack if we go to a liberal non-strict-interpretative court, but it’ll be the entire American way of life. When we appoint liberal judges, they take it upon themselves not to interpret the laws but to legislate the laws and there’s a lot of liberal courts doing that. So, the appeal needs to be not just to gun owners, although that’s obviously critically important…but I think many of the things we think about, all of our freedoms will be at risk. You know the liberal courts and the liberal politicians believe they know what’s best for Americans. They’re gonna tell us when we have to get health care. They’re gonna tell us what time we have to get out of bed every day. They’re gonna tell us where we have to go to work. They’re gonna take our money and redistribute it. This is an issue that every American needs to be worried about.”

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

Just weeks after the January 8, 2011 shooting rampage in Tuscon that left six dead and 13 wounded, Rathner lobbied aggressively in the Arizona legislature to have the Colt single action Army revolver declared the state’s official firearm. The legislation was widely criticized, including by lawmakers (Republican state Senator Adam Driggs called the legislation an “advertisement for Colt”) and Native Americans with the Navajo Nation, who said the Colt was a tool used by white settlers to push them off their ancestral lands. "If you want to symbolize something and shove that something...in their faces, this is what it is," said Albert Hale, an ex-Navajo president. "The gun symbolized the extinction of those Indians who were here." The bill was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2011.

The T. Jeffrey Safari Company is a participant in the NRA’s “round-up” program, which allows customers to round up their safari trip purchases to the next round dollar increment, with the excess funds going directly to the NRA.

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