╌>

Former Gun Company Executive Explains Roots of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic

  
Via:  John Russell  •  last year  •  14 comments


Former Gun Company Executive Explains Roots of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic
And then an explosion hit. That explosion was the future Black president leading in the polls in 2007. And then Barack Obama won in 2008. So you have this sort of uncapping of hate and conspiracy, much of it racially driven, that the NRA was tapping into. Prior to 2007, people in the United States never purchased more than 7 million guns in a single year. By the time Barack Obama left office, the United States was purchasing almost 17 million guns a year.

Leave a comment to auto-join group NEWSMucks

NEWSMucks


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns became the leading killer of children in 2020, overtaking car crashes, drug overdoses and disease for the first time in the nation’s history. Yet as the one-year anniversary of the   massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas , passes, nagging questions loom.

Why haven’t lawmakers acted with forceful correctives? What will it take to regain a sense of safety? When will change happen? And how, exactly, did America end up here?

Ryan Busse , former executive at Kimber America, a major gun manufacturer, recently shared his thoughts on these questions with ProPublica. He was vice president of sales at Kimber America from 1995 to 2020 but broke with the industry and has become a gun safety advocate. He   testified about mass shootings   and irresponsible marketing last July in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and authored the book “Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America.”

In June 2021, he became a senior adviser for   Giffords , a gun violence prevention group led by Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman gravely injured in 2011 during a mass shooting. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Where are we, as a nation, on guns? And where do you think we need to go?


I think we might be on the precipice of things getting much worse. I think this   Bruen decision , the Supreme Court ruling, quite possibly will unleash so many lawsuits against so many counted-upon regulations that citizens may wake up to the equivalent of, like, no stop signs in their town anymore, except for it’ll be on gun regulation. [The Bruen decision has been called one of the court’s most significant rulings on guns in decades. It struck down New York’s concealed carry law as unconstitutional, saying it conflicted with the Second Amendment.]

What do you attribute this trend to?


As I write in my book, there was a time not that long ago, maybe about 15 to 20 years ago, when the industry understood a sort of fragile social contract needed to be maintained on something as immensely powerful as the freedom to own guns. And so the industry didn’t do certain things. It didn’t advertise in egregiously irresponsible ways. It didn’t put, you know, growth, company growth, above all other things. There were just these unspoken codes of conduct the industry knew not to violate. And those seem to have broken down. And now it’s kind of a victory at all costs. And sadly, I think there’s a lot of cost.

What do you say to people who make the argument that guns are protected by the Second Amendment and that yes, a deranged person here or there may do something bad, but is it fair to punish or penalize law-abiding gun owners with unnecessary or extra government intervention?


I am a gun owner. I hunt and shoot with my boys. I want to continue doing that. I believe and I think that I have a right to do those things. On the other hand, I do not believe that right can exist without a commensurate amount of responsibility. And that responsibility either has to be voluntary or it has to be legislated.

I don't think universal background checks are an infringement. I just don’t buy that. I think it’s part of the responsibility of exercising this right. I don’t think strengthened red flag laws are in any way an infringement. I think that’s what we must do as responsible citizens. I don’t think that controlling irresponsible marketing is an infringement on our Second Amendment rights. In fact, I think it’s our responsibility to do it. I think there’s a small thread of truth in the position you portray, but democracies function in a sort of carefully balanced gray area. And I think our balance in the country right now is way, way off.

There were people who agreed with everything I said before the sort of radical shifts started to happen in about 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. But, you know, as with most things, when you earn a paycheck from something, you’re likely to be greatly influenced by it. And so, over time, most of the people in the industry have either converted to a true belief in the sort of radicalized Second Amendment absolutism that now I think is very dangerous, or they have just left the industry. There is only a place for complete, 100% devotion.

What caused the radicalization?


It was a combination of factors. After Columbine in 1999, the National Rifle Association in very well-publicized meetings now, thanks to sleuthing and digging by reporters at NPR, we now have   tapes of the meetings   where they literally said, are we going to be part of the solution here? Or maybe we can use these things to drum up hate and fear in our members? We might even be able to use them to drive membership. And they chose the latter. They perfected that system for about seven or eight years, getting their feet underneath them. They figured out it can drive politics. And then an explosion hit. That explosion was the future Black president leading in the polls in 2007. And then Barack Obama won in 2008. So you have this sort of uncapping of hate and conspiracy, much of it racially driven, that the NRA was tapping into. Prior to 2007, people in the United States never purchased more than 7 million guns in a single year. By the time Barack Obama left office, the United States was purchasing almost 17 million guns a year. And so I think it’s impossible to discount the degree to which Obama’s presidency lit this whole thing on fire.

When Trump was elected, there was what was called in the industry the “Trump Slump,” meaning since a Republican was elected, the fear of Obama was gone, and Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected. The sort of fear and conspiracy subsided, and sales stagnated for a little while because the industry and gun owners believed that the threat had passed. But with Trump, we experienced a whole new, never seen before level of fear, racism, hatred and conspiracy that culminated in 2020. In that year, you had George Floyd,   COVID lockdowns ,   Black Lives Matter ,   Antifa protests   and Kyle Rittenhouse. I mean, it’s the most tumultuous year any of us can remember with the most hatred and conspiracy and nastiness. None of us can remember a year like that. In that year, the United States consumers bought almost 23 million guns in a single year, more than three times as much as before Barack Obama took office.

Last year there was a rash of youth-related mass shootings. Uvalde comes to mind. The tragedy at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket comes to mind. How do race, conspiracy and these political headwinds you mention result in young people committing these massacres?


When those things happen, they’re not products of one particular event or series of events. They are the culmination of lots of turmoil in our society. And we’ve always had turmoil in our society, and every society has always had turmoil in it. What no other society has had is 425 million guns and this culture, on the right, that tells young men that to be real young men, they must purchase an AR-15 and go out and solve their problems. The industry 15 years ago would not even allow the AR-15 to be used or displayed at its own trade shows. I mean, they were locked up in a corner. You had to have military or police credentials to even go in there. Now, they’re spread around like crazy, and the marketing campaigns are so aimed at young men that in some ways, it’s not shocking that Uvalde or Buffalo or [the July 4 shooting at a parade in the Chicago suburb of] Highland Park, all three heinous crimes, all three committed with AR-15s, all by very young men. It’s not shocking to me that those happen; it’s shocking to me that they don’t happen every day.

What is more powerful in this country right now than social media advertising? And if it’s not so powerful, why do all the gun companies and the tactical gear companies maintain such polished social media accounts? Advertising is something that happens over time, and creates a perception and creates brands, and creates ways of thinking. And I think that certainly happened with the Buffalo shooter.

The Buffalo shooter wrote in his manifesto about perusing YouTube videos, social media accounts, all the places where tactical gear — which are some of the most egregiously advertised items in the firearms industry right now, bulletproof vests, helmets, gloves, all things that weren’t marketed at all 20 years ago. He studied very carefully what bulletproof vest to wear, what tactical gear to wear, he used the exact same gun that was used in Sandy Hook, the Bushmaster XM-15, the same gun that was advertised in [Remington Arms’] man card campaign that told young men: “You don’t have a man card if you don’t have one of these rifles. And you do have a man card if you do have one of them.”

Now, can you draw a direct line from that ad to those two shooters? I don’t know that you can draw a direct line, but I think you could damn sure draw an obtuse line. I mean, two young men who, obviously, I mean, come on, like, that’s not a mistake. And if advertising doesn’t matter, then why are they doing it?

What are the fixes? Are there any fixes?


What did Winston Churchill say? “Americans will eventually do the right thing.” And I think we may be in for more ugliness before we do the right thing. Some of that will be demanding that the Supreme Court not apply foolish originalist reasoning to instances like this. So part of that will be demanding that either through public pressure or through eventually, in the long game, replacing those justices with ones who don’t believe that way.

The other thing is, we’re going to have to, as a society, just rise up and demand responsibility, the same kind of responsibility that the industry that I worked in once imposed on itself.

You know, I tell the story that 15, 20 years ago, the industry named guns like the Smith & Wesson 629 or the Remington 870 because you had [industry] attorneys that knew that even the names of guns could be important. They could encourage people to do irresponsible things. And so you’d never wanted to even name things that might encourage bad things to happen. Now we have a gun called the Wilson Urban Super Sniper. I mean, what are you supposed to do with that? We now have a gun called the Ultimate Arms Warmonger. What are you supposed to do with that? We now have an AR-15 company called Rooftop Arms, as in when you don’t get what you want, you vote from the rooftops. And what happened in Highland Park? A kid got up and killed people from a rooftop. You see the old self-imposed responsibility; those old norms of behavior have been just completely trashed.

So we can, as a society, demand reinstatement of those norms. Those have nothing to do with laws. They don’t require legislation. They don’t require two-thirds of the vote in the Senate. We can demand that. And we may have to.


Tags

jrGroupDiscuss - desc
[]
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    last year

Right wing media turned the election of Barack Obama into an existential threat to the "American way of life", so how to fight this threat? Buy guns. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @1    last year

Lol.  This post is a full out assault on reality. 

The homicide rate was slightly lower when Obama left office than when he entered 8 years earlier.  You can almost see the author's thinking. (1). Blame white supremacists (2) Tie it to rage over Obama (3) Ignore all facts.  He started with the conclusion already decided and then this was his pathetic attempt to backfill facts.  

More facts the left doesn't like. Race relations actually improved over Obama's first term.  There was no adverse reaction to a black man being President.  It wasn't until Obama and the left went woke (Ferguson, BLM) in his second term  race relations started to decline.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    last year
The homicide rate was slightly lower when Obama left office than when he entered 8 years earlier

A fact worth noting.

At times (when liberal cities are being criticized), the murder rate is down and "proof" that the left's ways are working; at other times, (when someone feels race is the issue) the dropping murder rate is proof of too many guns and gun laws which are too lax.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    last year

Sean, well over half of Republicans were described as birthers , during Obama's first term. 

Birtherism is racism , pure and simple. 

The idea that race relations improved during Obama's tenure is nonsense. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.2    last year
Sean, well over half of Republicans were described as birthers , during Obama's first term.

By a leftist-supporting media.

Big whoop.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.2    last year
Birtherism is racism , pure and simple.

I wonder how many times you posted that when your fellow travelers were raging about Cruz not being an American by birth?

Any?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
1.1.5  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.2    last year

Obama even published a bio before he was known where he stated he was born in Kenya. Only later did he change his story. His books don't jibe with reality, including not being truthful about who his father really was. Don't forget that Hillary was the first and original "birther" and questioned his origins, so she was racist? 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
1.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.2    last year

"Birther"... that's a blast from the past. 

Say, John... have you ever heard anyone say, "I used to be a Birther, but that birth certificate clearly proved I was wrong." If there's no one who says that, where are all those Birthers today?

jrSmiley_43_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    last year

No....left wing media drummed up the fiction that anyone who doesn't like or disagrees with Obama is a de facto racist. The left is also historically anti 2nd Amendment. They mistakenly think that even more common-sense gun laws and universal background checks will somehow stop or slow gun deaths. Finally, they seem to favor registration followed by confiscation as the ultimate solution.

But what good are these new laws if they are not applied to the problem and enforced. Recent events have shown the left's proclivity to be soft on crime and indifferent to the victims....thus more and more people are buying guns for protection since most liberal jurisdictions don't support and stand behind their police departments.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Texan1211  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    last year
left wing media drummed up the fiction that anyone who doesn't like or disagrees with Obama is a de facto racist.

Spot-fucking-on!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JohnRussell @1    last year
Right wing media turned the election of Barack Obama into an existential threat to the "American way of life", so how to fight this threat? Buy guns. 

He was loved by the firearm industry as sales really took off while he was in office. Total sales of firearms and ammunition during those eight years were just under $50 billion $45.7 billion.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.3.1  Sparty On  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.3    last year

Obama’s legacy:

Best gun salesman in history.

Bigly.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
2  Sparty On    last year

The biggest part of the gun violence problem, gangs, could give a shit who the President is.    Don’t believe it?    Head down to the hood in your city and ask a couple bangers.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3  Texan1211    last year

Interestingly enough, the defund police movement became popular in 2020 and George Soros started donating to DA candidates who vowed to 'change the criminal justice system' a few years earlier.

Both things led to more Americans wanting to be able to protect themselves.

Coincidence?

I don't think so!

 
 

Who is online


Nerm_L
Texan1211
CB
Right Down the Center
Igknorantzruls
George
Drinker of the Wry
Dragon


59 visitors