By Samir Shukla
What are icons of Americanism? Apple pie and baseball come to mind. Add to that a piece of hardware that has thoroughly permeated American lives and politics. Guns. They also seemingly project American culture to the outside world, for better or worse, more so than anything else. The debates on gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment rile our social and political discourses. Everyone has an opinion on the matter and balancing the constitutional rights while working to reduce violence due to guns is an endless debate. When I saw the cover of the book Gunfight, it immediately drew me in to read the book. It's a fantastic look at the firearms industry from an insider's view. Below is my review:
My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America
Author: Ryan Busse
“I am responsible for selling millions of guns," author Ryan Busse writes in the prologue of his book Gunfight. The book is an eye-opening tome written by an insider, a former large firearms company executive and NRA (National Rifle Association) member who worked in the gun industry for decades. America's gun industry is a multibillion-dollar behemoth. Hundreds of millions of firearms are owned by Americans in every corner of the country.
Busse writes about how the firearms industry at one time “abhorred extremism and prided itself on gun safety has now become mired in fostering extremism and racism, radicalizing the nation and bringing cultural division to a boiling point." Busse is a hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist, all things he says the firearms industry was built on. He spent over 30 years in the industry and built a successful career selling millions of firearms for one of America's most popular gun companies.
He became disillusioned with the way the industry was evolving, with the NRA becoming more radical in its political leanings and gunmakers profiting from the fears spewed by politicians. Busse eventually left the industry.
He says the lure of massive profits derailed the industry from its “self-imposed decency" to lock arms with “hardline conservatism and internal policing, which have created irreparable division in the country's politics and society in general."
“By the time Obama's presidency came to an end, the industry had recorded more than 101 million gun sales, a 75 percent increase over the administration of George W. Bush." He writes in the book, explaining that the industry feeds on fear and propaganda that guns will be taken away from the average citizen if any gun control legislation is considered or passed.
The book exposes the secretive industry from an insider's point of view. It shows how America's gun industry shifted from “prioritizing safety and ethics to one that is addicted to fear, conspiracy, intolerance, and secrecy."
He is especially troubled by the profusion of military style weapons. Busse talks openly about his own transformation where he eventually got disillusioned and left his lucrative job and the firearms industry. He bemoans how talking about his own conscience, or even simple common sense gun control measures, became an act of treason in the eyes of the folks he worked with, as the industry demands intense loyalty.