A long-time former executive at one of the country’s top gun manufacturers reveals how his industry radicalized a large swathe of America, and explains how it must change before we can reduce gun violence and heal as a nation.

Ryan Busse has traveled a long, circuitous path along the American gun journey. As an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist–all things that the firearms industry was built on–he rose to the highest ranks of the rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar firearms industry.

But replacing self-imposed decency with rampant fear-mongering, racism, hardline conservative politics, massive profits from semi-automatic weapons sales, and McCarthyesque policing have driven Busse to do something few other gun executives have done: he's ending his 30-year career in the industry to tell its secrets. He watched the industry change from its smaller, less corporate and far-less-powerful form to the partisan, power-hungry entity it is today. He thought he could go up against the power of the industry from within, and over the years had made small inroads toward sensible gun ownership and use. But that's simply not possible anymore.

This book is an insider’s call-out, a voice-driven tale of personal transformation, and a fast ride through wild times and colorful characters that populate a much-speculated-about, but little-known industry. It's also a story of how authoritarianism spreads in the guise of freedom, how voicing one's conscience becomes an act of treason in a culture that demands sameness and loyalty.


What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


“Ryan Busse presents a fascinating, clear-eyed account of the gun industry’s slide into extremism. Gunfight is an important book for anyone seeking to understand how our country’s debate over the role of guns and gun laws in our society has become so bitter and fraught. I was left with a sense of hope that there is a path forward; one where the majority of Americans, including the majority of gun owners, stand up to the gun lobby's bullying and demand lasting change.”—Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords
“Ryan Busse is a gun enthusiast, conservationist, and defender of our Second Amendment. This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand how a wholesome part of America was twisted to radicalize wide swaths of our country, and its all wrapped up in a wild-ride story that you can't put down.”—Steve Bullock, two-term Montana Governor
Gunfight is a riveting account of how special interests have perverted the Second Amendment to create a culture of gun extremism that's radicalized a vocal minority. But gun owners like Ryan Busse are taking back the narrative from extremists who are trying to use guns to undermine our democracy.”—Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action
“Gunfight is a wild ride you can’t put down.  More importantly, it is an illuminating, insider account of the 25-year radicalization of much of the Republican party with guns - and the myths the industry sells about them - at the center of the story.  Anyone concerned about the rise of extremism that brought about the January 6th insurrection should read Ryan Busse's brave book."—Jennifer Palmieri, former White House Communications Director, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Dear Madam President
“Woven through this riveting personal story is a message for millions of reasonable Americans who are not happy with being branded and manipulated by the political extremes. Gunfight reveals the truth about the roots of our national division, and many people will see themselves in Busse’s resistance to extremism. Ryan Busse is ready to lead that fight.”—Jon Tester, three-term Montana Democratic Senator and author of Grounded: Lessons from Rural America
“Busse’s story is an incredible read, but it also shines a light on how guns have been used to divide this country. This is not a gun book, but rather it is the enthralling personal story detailing how our nation came to be divided.”—Martin Heinrich, two-term New Mexico Democratic Senator and former congressman
“After two decades covering America’s gun nightmare, what I’ve really come to crave is intel on our adversary. Enter Ryan Busse, a Big Gun executive with a harrowing personal story from deep inside the industry. A riveting account of what drives this belligerent force, and insights into how to temper it.”Dave Cullen, author of Columbine and Parkland
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