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Ryan Busse TALKS GUNS

Guns: Ryan Busse Loves Them But Sees The Need For Limits On How They’re Used and Sold

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How can gun violence in America be reduced? A former gun industry executive shares his candid thoughts.

The recent mass shootings in Sacramento, California that left 6 people dead and 12 injured have renewed the calls for action on gun control. In our forthcoming podcast, we hear a unique perspective on the raging debate with a former gun industry executive who says the NRA and its supporters have gone too far.

Our guest, Ryan Busse grew up around guns — hunting and shooting with his father and pursuing a career working for a gun manufacturer. Today he is still a proud gun owner, hunter and an avid outdoorsman, who lives in Montana. But Busse argues that his industry radicalized large numbers of Americans and says it must change before gun violence can be reduced and our nation can heal.

After a successful 30-year career, he retired from the gun manufacturer he helped to build and wrote Gunfight, a book that tells the inside story of a little-known industry. In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, we learn about Busse’s lifelong love of guns and discuss his take on the responsibilities gun owners and manufacturers need to accept.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep 55 – Guns: Ryan Busse Loves Them But Sees The Need For Limits On How They’re Used and Sold

Ryan Busse

Ryan Busse is an author and former firearms executive who spent many years in the industry and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award.

As Ryan’s career progressed, he became increasingly concerned by what he calls “troubling NRA extremism” that he believed was radicalizing millions of Americans. He spent nearly two decades finding ways to fight back from the inside and left the gun industry in 2020. His book, Gunfight, was published in October 2021.

Busse is also an environmental advocate who served in many leadership roles for conservation organizations including as an advisor to the U.S. Senate Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Biden Presidential campaign. He remains a proud outdoorsman, gun owner, father, and resident of Montana.

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Trump administration is in a unique position to make real change on gun control policy

This month co-founders, Bruce Bond and  Erik Olsen, shared their thoughts in this poignant piece about gun control.

Bruce and Erik identified that the Trump administration is in a unique position to implement measures to reduce the prevalence of mass shootings and that preventing this type of tragedy is somewhere the nation can find common ground.

As we continue to struggle with the events in El Paso and Dayton, we all must face the fact that the problem of mass shootings in America has been in the headlines for over 30 years, through numerous administrations, with virtually no progress made. In fact, the situation has never been worse.

That shouldn’t be. Virtually all Americans, regardless of demographic characteristics, political views, positions on gun ownership and regulation, political party or political office want to see this escalating violence come to an end.

In our work to “bring light not heat to public discourse” and to demonstrate that people can come together in passionate but respectful debate to find common ground on issues that matter, we see clearly that the lack of progress on this issue is caused by its complexity and the fact that the divisive issue of guns is at the heart of the debate.

The Trump administration is in a unique position to make tangible and significant progress on this problem and move us down the path to eliminating mass shootings. We believe this because:

  • Law-abiding gun owners often do not trust that their government will allow them to keep their weapons — but the support of the Trump administration among gun owners is strong. Gun owners recognize this administration as someone looking out for their interests.
  • The Trump administration demonstrated work to reduce mass shootings when President Trump issued an executive order in December 2018 effectively banning bump stocks.

We believe this administration is in much the same position as President Richard Nixon, a staunch anti-communist, was when presented with the opportunity to open relations with Communist China. That apparent conflict was key to his success, ultimately cooling tensions between the two countries and getting American businesses to access the China market. As the Nixon administration did, we urge our current leaders to seize the opportunity.

But the 30 years of no progress mandate that a new approach is needed. Specifically:

  • The conversation cannot be a referendum on guns and the 2nd Amendment because gun owners and their representatives will not engage.
  • It must acknowledge the complexity of the problem. Researchers and law enforcement are working to determine why individuals become shooters, but there is as yet no consensus. And there are different types of mass shootings. Gang-related killings are not the same as what happened in El Paso and Dayton.
  • It needs to include these four basic principles:
  1. Hear from all sides of the issue, including mass shooting victims and those dedicated to saving lives through strict gun control as well as gun owners who are concerned that their Constitutional right to ownership will be effectively eliminated. Seek to understand and account for the different perspectives, particularly of these two groups.
  2. When forming solutions, set ideology aside in favor of facts presented by credible experts.
  3. Outside of assailants, do not assign blame. Instead, seek to identify what individuals, organizations, companies, etc. can do to address the parts of the problem they contribute to. (Note to the media: We believe that assigning blame without reporting on potential solutions or points of progress serves to further divide the nation, making it more difficult to achieve the goal, which is to save innocent lives).
  4. Focus on what is possible and what can be done now. Find the 10-20 percent of the issue the different sides can agree on and take action accordingly. Build on that momentum moving forward.

There are probably a few mechanisms that could work, and we hope our elected officials choose one and get it going. When the findings and recommendations are delivered, we encourage the Trump administration to be the leading and loudest voice convincing citizens and elected officials to embrace the results and support them in speech and action.

We believe this administration has a substantially better opportunity than previous presidents. We implore them to seize it and set us on the path to the elimination of this horrific problem. They will be saving the lives of those who, through no fault of their own, may otherwise be included on the list of mass shooting victims.

— This article was published in The Hill on August 21, 2019