My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America


By Ryan Busse

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A former firearms executive pulls back the curtain on America's multibillion-dollar gun industry, exposing how it fostered extremism and racism, radicalizing the nation and bringing cultural division to a boiling point.
As an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist–all things that the firearms industry was built on–Ryan Busse chased a childhood dream and built a successful career selling millions of firearms for one of America’s most popular gun companies.

But blinded by the promise of massive profits, the gun industry abandoned its self-imposed decency in favor of hardline conservatism and McCarthyesque internal policing, sowing irreparable division in our politics and society. That drove Busse to do something few other gun executives have done: he's ending his 30-year career in the industry to show us how and why we got here.
Gunfight is an insider’s call-out of a wild, secretive, and critically important industry. It shows us how America's gun industry shifted from prioritizing safety and ethics to one that is addicted to fear, conspiracy, intolerance, and secrecy. It recounts Busse's personal transformation and shows 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. Gunfight offers a valuable perspective as the nation struggles to choose between armed violence or healing.




THIS BOOK IS BOTH A PERSONAL MEMOIR AND AN INSIDE story about the transformation of our country. The facts that relate to our nation are supported with official statistics, press releases, news accounts, and verified quotations, all documented in the notes section. The details that relate to my life are true to the best of my recollection. On the occasions where I rely upon secondhand information, I recount facts as they were presented to me at the time. Where possible, I cross-referenced decades of personal notes and written records. In many instances I spoke again to the people who experienced these things alongside me and then ensured that my written account represented the facts as those who were nearest remembered them.

The central portion of my story unfolded over twenty-five years, which means I have condensed timelines and selected important highlights.

Some names in this book have been changed. Conversations in this book are accurate, and some are reconstructed as I remember them. All of them happened.

This book is true, even the parts I wish were not.



MY INDUSTRY HAS PLAYED A LEADING ROLE IN FOMENTING the division of our nation, one aspect of which boiled over and into the streets of cities across America after the cruel murder of George Floyd in May 2020. In rural cities like ours these protests were met with angry White men who were encouraged and incited to exert the power of their privilege with intimidation and firepower.

In my job as Kimber’s vice president of sales, I often reminded other gun executives that the worsening cultural divide had become a game of Russian roulette. I had watched as incidences of school shootings increased along with the national obsession over offensive weapons of war. As I became increasingly alarmed, I made the fateful decision to try to use my leadership position in the industry to convince those in power that someday soon a chambered bullet would tear America in half.

Those warnings all seemed strangely distant now, as if I had been observing the war in a planning room on impersonal maps with plastic soldiers to represent real people. Now the war was here, and my family was on the ground, alongside me. There were no more plastic figures, just us and the angry armed men my industry had empowered.

Kalispell, in the northwest corner of Montana, is home to a concerning number of White supremacists but also a growing number of people who feel called to stand up for higher principles. In many ways our town, like many other small cities across the country, is a microcosm of the nation’s cultural identity crisis.

As I prepared to join Kalispell’s Black Lives Matter rally in June 2020, I knew that my family and I would experience the culture war close-up, on a personal scale, and it troubled me. I felt guilty because I was still in the industry—although by that point I’d made a plan to get out. Nonetheless, I had built a successful career selling tools designed for a single, ultimate purpose: to take lives. But I believed that the guns I sold were different: they were used for self-defense and for hunting and target shooting, which were indelible parts of my childhood. I spent a career focusing on those other purposes. I believed I was different from those who actually wanted to use their guns for deliberate killing. And of course I was, but I was also tied to them whether I wished to be or not.

When I started in the industry, it wanted nothing to do with extremism. I stayed as long as I did because I believed in the ideals and values that I learned growing up as a ranch kid, as a hunter, and as someone who still appreciates the craftsmanship of well-built firearms. I thought I could keep the industry from changing, and then I spent years fighting to hold a battle line within it. By that day in 2020, I had begun the process of getting out of the gun business. But as I thought about the company I helped build, the countless guns we sold, and the question my son had just asked me, I kept telling myself, I hope none of them are using a Kimber.

I had worked hard during my career to help build a company that sold guns I would be proud to own. To me and many others, the lines between different types of firearms were clear. I was frustrated when cable news shows glossed over the differences between guns and the differences between gun owners because I knew it just played into the National Rifle Association (NRA) plan. The powerful organization was just starting to reel from self-inflicted wounds and would eventually file for bankruptcy. Despite those setbacks, the country was living through chaos, which proved that our nation had already been transformed by the NRA and that there was no going back. The NRA had succeeded with a plan that required all gun owners to appear identical and march in lockstep. I wanted people to know that no matter what the NRA said, I was not like the men who would confront my family. I was one of the millions of gun owners who were disgusted at the thought of being lumped in with those who use offensive weapons to threaten and intimidate.

As we approached the rally, we joined up with a group of high school kids chanting, “No justice, no peace!” A few minutes later we stood with a local pastor. He and I actually had something in common. He also spent much of his time fighting against powerful societal forces unleashed by those who had appropriated something important to him. The look of anguish and guilt in his eyes felt familiar.

More than a thousand people had gathered downtown, and the protest grew tense. The dozens of armed men we knew would be there hovered behind us. They stood in a line, stiff, looking like out-of-shape military guards waiting to shoot an escaping prisoner. All of them were White. Most had beards and military boots. Some wore MAGA hats and Oath Keepers or “3 Percenter” patches, which signified membership in a growing radical militia organization founded around the concept that only 3 percent of American colonists were bold enough to fight the British. One man with a bright-red Marine Corps cap walked through the crowd, glaring at us with a baseball bat over his shoulder, his grip on it tight. He looped through the high school kids, then returned to stand with the armed men, who were all carrying loaded AR-15s with thirty-round magazines.

For decades my industry accepted and preached the rules of basic gun safety. Through a network of thousands of safety classes for hunters and gun owners across the country, the industry had long mandated avoidance of confrontation. Guns were to be used for defense and only as a last resort. The men at this protest dispensed with all those safety norms. Their loaded rifles hung from three-point tactical harnesses, muzzle down, on the front of their chests: each rifle a flashing neon sign of offensive intimidation. They had come here looking for a fight.

These men were, after all, amateurs, with one thing that unified them: assault rifles, which are anything but amateur. They had accessorized their guns with quad rails, electronic red dot sights, folding stocks, muzzle brakes, and a litany of other modifications—all designed to make the guns more lethal. These were the same specializations that elite military units use to increase efficiency in the heat of war. The soldiers in those units go through extensive training and use these weapons as unforgiving killing machines.

The amateurs at our protest were not from any trained unit. They had probably met one another through such booming social media sites as, Funker Tactical, Demolition Ranch, and the Military Arms Channel. For years prior to this protest, advertising executives in the gun industry had been encouraging the “tactical lifestyle” by spending millions of dollars with these websites and influencers, who, in turn, cultivated millions of followers. The resulting feedback loop powered a culture that glorified weapons of war and encouraged followers to “own the libs.” The more extreme the posts, the more followers they gained, and the more guns we sold. Eventually, those followers began showing up at the capitol buildings in Virginia, Michigan, and Kentucky with loaded rifles. Despite the fact that their aggressive actions violated all gun-safety norms once mandated by the gun business, I never heard a single gun-industry member criticize them or worry about the repercussions.

As I turned back to our group of protesters and toward the busy street, a large truck revved its engine to blow a cloud of black diesel exhaust into our faces. Men standing in the back of the truck began taunting us. One held up a large Confederate flag, and Lander shot me a look. Then the line of armed men behind us shook their fists and yelled back in approval over the top of us. They had just surrounded our group of protesters. I looked back at the armed men in disgust. Our country had arrived at the point where military guns were the symbols of an entire political movement.

The NRA and the firearms companies had long ago harnessed this fear and hate as fuel, then dropped a match into the middle of it. The sparks and the kindling for the blaze had been stacked since the beginning of my career in the gun business, and now it exploded into a national inferno from which emerged the angry MAGA Man who had pushed his fat finger into my boy’s chest.

After I told the guy to keep walking, his buddies stepped in to challenge me. One carried an AR-15 loaded with a high-capacity magazine. Another held a tactical shotgun slung over his shoulder; this is a preferred weapon in close combat, designed to be quickly fired in tight spaces and to deliver a wide spray of deadly shot. Professional military officers and tactical law-enforcement units use these short-barreled weapons to clear entire buildings and to shoot multiple assailants in moving vehicles.

The tension diffused just enough to avoid disaster, but it all could have gone so wrong. People around me at our local protest were shocked by the amateur militia and the unhinged man who screamed at my twelve-year-old son. I wasn’t shocked. I had seen this coming.

I studied these men now, disgusted but also curious. I saw a man I thought I knew as he passed by. Our eyes met, and he nodded at me as if to say, “Thank you.” Then I looked at his hip. There it was: a holstered Kimber pistol. My stomach dropped. But I wasn’t surprised.

Over the previous twenty-five years, I had worked hard to keep Kimber from jumping on the exploding AR-15 bandwagon. Despite immense pressures, I had succeeded, and Kimber stayed out of that market. I wanted a company that was more focused on what I believed to be a defensible and sustainable approach, not on the commoditized “black guns” that fed the tactical lifestyle. Our products were based on century-old designs and featured exquisite craftsmanship. The Kimber pistol I saw that day was proof that I could do only so much in the face of a wave of radicalization. The industry I once loved and helped build was now almost unrecognizable to me.

Had the men who just confronted me known about my day job, they might have done a double take. The day before this protest I sat in my comfortable office, directing the sales of guns and marveling at the effects of an unprecedented sales boom. We started the day with an impromptu sales meeting. Allen, our longtime manager of sales operations, arrived at work, bursting through the door with his usual intensity.

“Just about everything in California is still shut down,” he said. “People can’t buy a hamburger, but damn, have you seen the pictures from Turner’s?” He showed me the photo of long lines of customers waiting to get inside the gun store. “It’s like Black Friday times five!”

“I mean, what does it say about our country that we’ve been hoarding toilet paper and guns?” he added. “NICS is going to be off the chart again!”

A federal law named after President Reagan’s press secretary, who had been wounded in an assassination attempt, created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in 1998. The Brady Act mandated that all gun sales by licensed dealers require one of these checks before finalizing a gun sale. The initial purpose of the system was preventing criminals from purchasing guns, but it also served as the closest thing to an official record of gun sales in America. After some data adjustments, the firearms industry generally accepted that one NICS check equals one gun sold.

Each month, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported NICS numbers for the previous month, and the gun industry dutifully studied and mined these data for indications about market trends. The NICS report for March 2020, when the COVID-19 virus shut down the world, contained five of the ten highest days ever recorded. More guns were sold on March 20 than on any other day in the history of the United States. As most of the country came to grips with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, gun retailers made 201,308 sales that day. Allen was right about the monthly totals as well. In fact, March 2020 was the largest gun-sales month ever, with nearly 2.4 million guns sold, averaging nearly eighty thousand sales per day—almost double the previous March record. April and May also produced record NICS numbers. Many of those guns were Kimbers.

“Booze!” another salesman piped up. “It’s flying off the shelves too. I went to buy vodka last night, and they were out! Guns, toilet paper, and booze.”

As I thought about so many guns flooding into a market of scared, toilet-paper-less, heavy-drinking Americans, I remembered an often-repeated truism about the industry: “The gun business is just like the booze business; it’s pretty good when times are good, and it’s fucking great when times are bad.”

Times were, in fact, great for gun companies: unlike many economic sectors, guns were deemed essential. During the COVID-19 outbreak, President Trump had tipped his hat to the core of his political base with the proclamation to keep gun stores and gun companies open. The gun-manufacturing industry’s trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), quickly thanked Trump for the “essential business” designation in a press release. “We are deeply appreciative to the Trump Administration and Department of Homeland Security for recognizing the vital role our industry fulfills in our nation,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the NSSF.1

As we wrapped up our sales meeting the day before the protests in my town, I sensed a national disaster on the horizon. It was June, and gun sales were still smashing records. Manufacturers cranked out guns at full capacity, producing nearly one hundred thousand of them per day. They still could not keep up with demand.

For years, the gun manufacturers and the NRA had used fear and conspiracy whenever gun sales sagged. The logical outcome was frightening, but when I warned others about this, I was met with stares from people whose fortunes were tied to the monetary benefits of more fear, more conspiracy. This is the road map the NRA created. We are now a country that profits from disaster. Fear and hate are the only new products our industry needs.

Although many in the gun industry knew deep down that I was right, most executives did not want to believe it. Years earlier, just a few weeks before the 2016 election, I found myself at dinner with one of them. The gun industry revered Smith & Wesson’s CEO, James Debney. Tall and handsome, with a closely cropped salt-and-pepper beard, Debney led an iconic company that boasted worldwide name recognition just a half step behind Coca-Cola. Despite being a wealthy Brit, he had mastered the part of a red-blooded regular American gun guy, and our industry embraced him with open arms.

Debney knew that part of his role required large, conspicuous contributions to the NRA, and his generous financial donations earned him the organization’s coveted Golden Jacket (yes, it’s an actual jacket).

Kimber’s owner also had a Golden Jacket, which meant that he was part of the NRA’s Golden Ring of Freedom. Like Debney, he had received the prize directly from the NRA’s powerful leader, Wayne LaPierre, in a tightly orchestrated ceremony that stroked egos and encouraged more mega-donations. Kimber’s own press release was blunt about it: “The NRA Golden Ring of Freedom is known for distinguishing the eminent leaders within the NRA who have donated in excess of one million dollars.”2

As we swirled the last of our wine in crystal glasses, the conversation turned to politics. I asked Debney if it seemed contradictory that a CEO of a publicly held gun company was helping finance the presidential candidate whose victory would ensure a drop in business, resulting in a drastic loss in shareholder value. He paused. “You really think that if Trump is elected, gun sales will dive?” he asked in a crisp English accent.

I laughed as the wine kicked in. “James, people in this industry want to think all of this growth is due to business genius, but gun sales in this country are largely driven by irrational fear. For your entire tenure, you’ve operated under President Obama. Trust me, without a Black president or some new conspiracy theory to rely on, sales are going to tank. You’re cheering for Trump, and if he wins, your stock price will fall like a rock. You know that, right?”

He just stared at me for several seconds as he processed what I said and then quietly laughed. “I don’t think you’re correct about Trump. If he wins, it won’t have much impact. But I do think that if Hillary wins, we’ll have a brilliant four years!”

This was Debney’s way of both ignoring and admitting the truth about the undeniable impacts of politics on gun sales. I had heard the same sort of thing from others, and I knew that no industry professional wanted to believe that the main driver of our business was anything but genius. But Debney’s comment also exposed the fact that our industry was just fine with the indisputable sales benefits from a new Democratic administration. Over the years and through the election cycles, the trends were clear: gun sales tended to rise during times of tragedy under, and in anticipation of, Democratic presidents, and they tended to slump during Republican administrations.

Not long after Trump’s surprise win, Debney experienced this for himself. His company lost more than $1 billion in value as fear dissipated and sales slumped. By 2019, journalists also hounded him with questions about the Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle that was used to murder innocent high school students in Parkland, Florida. Encouraged by the power of a new social movement, the nation responded differently to the Florida tragedy. Journalists were more dogged; they poked at Debney’s wealth and noted that he profited from guns used in mass shootings.3

And before the year was out, he had lost one of the most prestigious jobs in the industry.

When I heard of Debney’s departure, I wondered if he wished that instead of funding Donald Trump’s victory with Golden Jackets, he had contributed to the certainty of continued fear and a “brilliant four years” under Hillary Clinton.

Debney did not survive at Smith & Wesson long enough to experience what ended up being a delayed payoff from the NRA’s hard-won Trump victory. By the middle of 2020, Donald Trump bucked the normal Republican gun downturn by using fear, riots, racial division, hate, protests, Twitter lies, politicization of science, a raging pandemic, intimidation, and guns to generate incredible sales that brought our industry roaring back to profitability. The ridiculous fear of a Black Democratic president had been replaced by the fear of radical leftists, marauding gangs, and even neighbors whose politics might be suspiciously progressive.

I detested everything about the Trump-driven boom, which meant that my entire livelihood was a contradiction. I had to make certain my company was successful. I knew if I was good at my job, I’d earn credibility and respect. This meant that I had a seat at the table in the places where decisions were made. I got to make whispered deals at cocktail parties. I had the rare opportunity to make sure that top industry leaders heard me, and they did. I got to speak truth to power, and I did. I had more clout than most when it came to speaking up for reason and common sense at a time when it was desperately needed. That also made me a royal pain in the ass. I expected to be fired on more than one occasion, but I made it hard for them because I always put big numbers on the bottom line. As long as I helped make Kimber profitable, I had a get-out-of-jail-free card in my pocket.

My family had watched me confront the industry’s growing addiction to fear. They supported me as I found ways to challenge it. My activism angered the increasingly vocal crowd of tactical enthusiasts, many of whom were now using military weaponry to intimidate ordinary citizens and lawmakers across our country. These were the same men who formed the base of a growing market and who functioned as an army of industry enforcers.

On many evenings, Sara and I sat with our boys around the dinner table to explain the new calls from that growing army for me to be fired. On the difficult days after unspeakably horrible events such as Las Vegas, Parkland, and El Paso, Sara dared to publicly speak up as a concerned mother and citizen; she offered empathy and shared frustration over social media with the victims of the mass shootings. When this happened, trolls who defined themselves by the power of their military weaponry stalked her online. They used our marriage to threaten our family and my job.

Other times I confided in my family as I saw overt racism and growing acceptance of conspiracy theories in the industry. Like me, our boys were frustrated by this because we knew dozens of gun owners like us who did not tolerate racism or believe in crazy conspiracies. Like them, we owned and used plenty of guns. But guns did not define us, nor did we embrace them as symbols of intimidation. I wanted my family to know I was different, that we weren’t alone in holding this position when it came to guns, and that I was working to lead Kimber in a way that never lost sight of the principles the industry once insisted upon.

Our boys rightly sensed that mine was a tightwire act. For their sake, I tried not to seem too concerned, but they were worried. They had heard the after-dinner whispers between Sara and me as I bemoaned eventual and unavoidable impacts to our country and my livelihood.

As guns combined with heated national politics and then boiled over, most firearms executives I knew were celebrating. This upheaval was very, very good for gun sales. All of it—the fear, the racism, the hate, the militarism—sold guns. After years of trying to stay above it all, now I just wanted out.

The products of my industry, especially the AR-15, had become the most important political symbol for President Trump’s base, maybe even a religious one. Many of the men at our protest wore the outline of the assault rifle on their hats and T-shirts, and those images sent a message of common faith. More powerful than even their flags, this symbol also let everyone else know that its bearers were armed with an efficient military killing machine, easily deployed when under threat, whether real or perceived.

In a nod to the overriding need for higher sales, I watched as the industry turned its back on safety instructors and hunters. They were marginalized and even given the pejorative nickname “Fudds” in a reference to the simpleton cartoon character Elmer Fudd.4 The lessons and warnings that Fudds believed in were now just impediments to higher sales. Millions of people who recoiled from seeing Americans terrorized with the offensive use of guns, or people who still believed in safety, background checks, and decency, were forced into the shadows.

I am not one to live in shadows. I have never been that kind of person. While in the industry, I helped develop new sales models and create new markets. It was my job, my career. I was good at it. Pitching in to build the tools of political extremism was once part of my job too. But slowly, then far too quickly, those political requirements meant that the firearms industry was not just another slice of the US economy. It and I were part of something much larger: a powerful political machine radicalizing our nation.

In 1995 I was a young man, and I rushed into the industry, believing that it embodied wholesome parts of a country that valued and relied on guns but did so responsibly. Those were still the days of magazine covers featuring the warmth of father-son hunting trips. For years, my early assumptions seemed correct, but by 2000, things were changing, and the industry was being molded into a powerful political machine. By 2004, I came to terms with the disastrous potential of that machine, and I spent the remaining sixteen years of my career fighting it.

I fought for people like my father, who taught me to shoot on the ranch where I grew up. I stayed for the gun owners across the country who also embraced safety and reason. I refused to cede ground, and I still believe that the millions like me have the right to insist on our own reasonable approach.

I realize that many reading this book might disagree with the line I chose to walk for so long. I can appreciate how many Americans believe we’d be better off without any guns—not just with a system of reasonable regulations. Many of these people have lived and suffered in ways I have not. I am a proud gun owner who hunts and shoots with his boys whenever I can, yet I share a common concern with these people who oppose guns because, like them, I’m worried about extremism and radicalization. I realize that a gun industry which mocks responsibility while celebrating armed extremism only strengthens the argument to end gun ownership. Millions like me know that the future of firearms ownership depends on responsibility, decency, and reason for the simple reason that the future of the democracy that grants us the right of gun ownership depends on the same things.

My story, like the story of our nation, is complex. To understand it all, we need to know the truth about how our country’s fascination with guns and power forms the framework of our modern existence.

This is the inside story of an industry that changed America and of a gunrunner turned gunfighter who lived through it all.





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  • “With Gunfight, Busse, who said he left the industry voluntarily in 2020, stands out because he is one of the few insiders to speak publicly, and critically, about the insular culture of gun companies.”—The New York Times
  • “Already called one of the most important books about guns in America ever written, it has placed Busse on a metaphorical firing line and is stirring up conversation nationally. No matter where one comes down on right-to-bear-arms issues, Gunfight ought to be a part of your reading list.”—Mountain Journal
  • “Busse’s story will challenge many readers, and enrage some as well, but the vehemence of this rage serves to prove his point: Too many people in our country have been pushed to such extreme positions that any utterance of an uncomfortable truth regarding what gun culture has become is often met with instant, harsh condemnation. And as the author convincingly argues, it’s an uncomfortable truth we need to hear and heed.”—Big Sky Journal
  • “[A] compelling and timely new book.”—The Daily Yonder
  • “[A] valuable insider account… Busse’s insights into the connections between politics and profit are genuinely eye-opening. This is an incisive look at how and why one of America’s deepest partisan divides got that way.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “[A] startling insider’s account of how the firearms industry struck a Faustian bargain with extremism for profit…Busse portrays his years in the industry lucidly, and his anger regarding its wrong turns and destructive influence seems genuine…  Sure to elicit controversy, this is a worthwhile addition to a volatile, necessary discussion.”—Kirkus
  • “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
  • “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
  • “I'm a proud father, gun owner, and bird dog trainer. But I am also the feared outsider because I am an African American man. Gunfight is the essential truth of America’s radicalized gun culture, and I could not put it down because people like me navigate these hard issues every day. We’ve been waiting for someone like Ryan Busse to come along beside us. Finally, we have an honest and gripping story that will be a catalyst for real change.”—Durrell Smith, educator, artist, author, founder of Minority Outdoor Alliance, and award-winning host of the GunDog Notebook podcast
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “Ryan Busse has ripped the curtain away from the firearms industry, revealing it to be the dark enabler of antigovernment conspiracies, racism, and the armed radicalization of the far right. Gun manufacturers supplied not only the guns, but the explosive ideological fuel that has led America to the brink of civil disorder. Busse has performed an inestimable service and, by the way, tells a riveting tale.”—Robert Spitzer, distinguished service professor of political science, the State College of New York, and author of more than 700 articles and four books on gun politics including eight editions of The Politics of Gun Control

On Sale
Oct 19, 2021
Page Count
352 pages

Ryan Busse

About the Author

Ryan Busse is a former firearms executive who helped build one of the world’s most iconic gun companies, and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the prestigious Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award. Busse is an environmental advocate who served in many leadership roles for conservation organizations, including as an advisor for the United States Senate Sportsmen's Caucus and the Biden Presidential Campaign. These days, Ryan provides consulting services to progressive organizations with the aim to undo the country's dangerous radicalization. He remains a proud outdoorsman, gun owner, father and resident of Montana. 

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