To better-equip school resource officers in Bismarck, ND, Brownells donated nine AR-15s to the Bismarck Police Department. The move came after the company learned the city's law-enforcement agency faced budgetary challenges and delays in making the purchase.
The agency, working in conjunction with local schools, had agreed to split the price of improved medical kits, gun lockers and body armor. The educators agreed with SROs—who currently have access to only their duty sidearms— having AR-15s at their disposal, but would not allow any part of their budget to underwrite the firearm purchases.
“We have made donations to police departments around the country,” Ryan Repp, Brownells director of content and communications, told the Bismarck Tribune. “I don’t know that any…were earmarked for SROs, necessarily. But law-enforcement support is something near and dear to us.”
News of the effort to improve security, and its temporary stalling, spread fast before finally catching the attention of the staff of Brownells in Iowa. Bismarck Police Deputy Chief Jason Stugelmeyer told the newspaper that there was a huge outpouring of support across the nation and that one person even offered his personal AR-15.
Money originally earmarked by the Bismarck Police Department for the firearms, which wouldn’t have become available until January 2019, will still go toward the effort.
“With the support, we’ll be able to get the project out quicker, and we’ll be able to have a more robust medical kit that we really wouldn’t have had the budget for otherwise, without the donation,” Stugelmeyer told the Tribune.
The AR-15s are valued at $520 each, and Brownells added select custom parts and a nearly $2,000 firearm kit to the donation. The company’s first annual catalog of gunsmithing parts and firearm components was published in 1947. Since that modest beginning, the firm has become an industry leader that now offers a full line of AR-15 rifles and related accessories.