Get to Know: Ryan Busse

 

Ryan Busse is a former gun industry executive, and the author of the book Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America. Busse grew up on a ranch, his family owned guns and he would go shooting and hunting with his family. After college, he got a job in the gun industry, won awards, and generally loved his career. However, in the early 2000s, he noticed that the gun industry was changing around him. The self-imposed decency, rules, and morals of the industry seemed to disintegrate, as the industry and the NRA realized they could be more profitable, and sell more guns, by cultivating fear. As Busse told NPR’s All Things Considered:

 

I assert in my book that the NRA and firearms politics are at the very center, are the thing, the place where our national division has been fomented, started, farmed, whatever, and then hand it off to the right. And it’s all based on fear. And you’re going to see it classically at the NRA convention. You’re going to hear people say, see, these people are going to use the death of these kids to come get our freedoms, to come get our rights. And you see how it’s framed into this fear of loss. Something horrible is framed into fear of loss. So the NRA perfected that – started to perfect it 20 years ago after Columbine. They made the decision there, but then they really began perfecting it as President Obama began leading in the polls in 2007.

 

Busse hoped that he could change the industry from within, but by 2020, he was the only dissenter left in the industry. He quit his job and wrote his book Gunfight, and joined the Giffords organization as a Senior Advisor. In the wake of recent mass shootings, Busse has been speaking out on behalf of responsible gun owners:

 

“We simply have to figure out a way, in a complex democracy, to figure out how to balance freedoms, which we all love – all of us want our freedoms. But none of them will be maintained, nothing will be maintained if we cannot balance them with responsibility. And that balance is just way, way out of whack.”

 

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