News has come to us of the death of fellow blogger Bob Owens. Bob was the founder and editor of BearingArms.com. He was a dedicated hoplophile, an avid shooter and a fierce supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and co-workers. He will be missed.

UPDATE: A memorial fund to benefit Bob’s family has been established at gofundme.com.

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83 Responses to Bob Owens, RIP

  1. Whut!?

    Wow, condolences to friends and family. Didn’t agree with everything he wrote, but I believe he was a fierce 2A supporter. Always hard when one of ours goes down. RIP.

  2. No mention at his website. Can’t help but think there could be foul play. I hope I’m wrong. RIP.

        • He recently mentioned that he suffered from migraines, and also that he was taking medication for some ailment. (could be the migraines) As I live with someone who suffers from these, it is not surprising at all to think that they could give someone suicidal thoughts. The pain is the kind of thing that most healthy people never have to deal with in their lives.

        • I can’t think of a single good reason to commit suicide, but migraines would be pretty far down the list if there were one.

        • txJM – How about you don’t want to live through/suffer something that has become unavoidable? I get migraines about 3x per year. Mine are horrible and debilitating. If I got them every other day – I would definitely consider suicide.

      • When was that profile established?
        I only see one post on his wall, with a zillion comments to that post.
        Is that a hoax, or did BobO create a facebook profile to say those 23 words?

  3. Very sad to hear the news. Bob Owens was a great American and true 2A patriot.

    He will be missed.

    John

  4. Damn. That sucks in every possible way. He seemed like a really good guy. And Bearing Arms is a great 2A website — part of my daily reading, right after TTAG. He’ll be missed by a lot of people.

    • That’s shortsighted & callous. Nice.

      Some people do it because they *are* selfish, but imho usually those are stunts-gone-wrong.
      Yet others do it because it’s the one last thing they have control over, don’t want to subject their loved ones to watching as they die slowly in a bed, or simply won’t live in a drug-induced haze because of long term physical/mental pain, etc.

      And if a family won’t accept those reasons as valid, while actively fighting that person’s wishes…. who’s more selfish?

      People who parrot your quote do a really good at convincing guys who are contemplating suicide as being a selfish coward, and hence they keep those thoughts to themselves. We have no idea of what forced Mr. Owen’s hand, and it doesn’t matter much now, does it?

      In any case…. the optics of this are bad, but so what? Those we can deal with. The primary thing here is to pay close attention to our friends/coworkers/family, and not insult their reasoning if they ARE contemplating suicide.

      • I’ve had a close relative who suffered depression and who committed suicide because of it. That gives me a huge amount of sympathy for those afflicted, and for the families of those who suffer from it. It’s easy to say, but unless you’ve seen it up close, it’s hard to really appreciate how, when a person is in the middle of it, they just don’t think straight. They can’t.

      • “If only depression were temporary.”

        Here’s a news flash – For some people, it isn’t.

        For them, it’s never completely gone, some days are just better than others.

        A good analogy is treading water with a weight attached to your ankle. Some days the weight is heavier than others, but you are *always* treading water.

        Consider yourself very fortunate if you’ve never experienced it.

  5. I would never wish this on anyone, no matter. Sorry to learn of the tragic end.

    No, I will not use the event to further or pursue a point.

  6. I just spoke to Bob mere DAYS ago. He seemed in incredibly good spirits at the NRA Convention, was anxiously finishing up a labor of love book and we were talking about an article he planned to write about some junior shooters I work with. He had VERY kind words for several junior female shooters ( my daughter amongst them) that beat him during a simulator match on the floor of the convention. There was NEVER even a hint something was troubling him.

    • I’ve personally known multiple guys (civilians and vets) who’ve killed themselves, and for all but one there was literally no warning indications. Not even in hindsight. It’s always shocking, but I’m not surprised anymore.

      The last was an Korean War vet, and he made it well known to everyone that when he couldn’t wipe his own ass or remember where the beer store was, he was going to follow Hunter Thompson’s lead. He made sure that friends (no living family) weren’t going to find and/or clean the mess, and we few friends made damn sure to follow his instructions afterwards (no way did we want Chief haunting us for disobeying direct orders). The man was an old cannon-cocker, so his ashes got cast into a 75mm solid shot, and blasted into his footlocker loaded with tannerite, uniforms, & photos from his war.

      I hope Mr. Owen’s gets an equally awesome send off. He’d probably appreciate it, and a good wake always helps heal from a sad ending.

      • That’s a pretty damn good idea, the Tannerite.

        Ashes mixed with the Tannerite, that is.

        Trying to cast it in the shot the ashes it will probably just end up as surface slag…

        • IIRC, the cannon’s owner put ashes in a capsule of some sort, which he then cast/set into the round. The hope was to recover it for the VFW Post’s memorial wall…. but the round skipped thru the sand berm & left nice crater in the quarry wall. The rest were split between his footlocker and given to a related 2ID trooper, who scattered them on a hill near Pusan where a bunch of Chief’s buddies had died. It was epic, but still really sad when he finally pulled the trigger. Nobody tried to talk him out of it, but knowing ahead of time that he was leaving on his own terms was comforting.

        • ” The rest were split between his footlocker and given to a related 2ID trooper, who scattered them on a hill near Pusan where a bunch of Chief’s buddies had died.”

          That’s a righteous place for them.

          I’ve been told for the survivors of the Arizona at Pearl the Navy will inter their remains with their shipmates if asked…

    • Prescribed medications can sometimes push people over the edge, in a moment of difficulty. I didn’t know him, or his health difficulties, but that is what I immediately thought of.

    • This is very sad for the loved ones left behind. I didn’t know Bob so I have nothing to add except my heartfelt condolences.

      For what it’s worth, being in exceptionally good spirits is a sign to look for in a person you might think is at risk for suicide.

      Good spirits, often accompanied by the person giving away treasured items to loved ones, is a result of them having made a decision that settles them. Having decided to take the path that makes the most sense to end their inner turmoil allows them to set their pain aside, giving them a feeling of contentment — and can allow feelings of love and generosity to come forward.

      Of course, every person is unique, and we cannot know what they knew.

  7. Not knowing him, I have no idea what his problems were or if they could have been helped. Sometimes someone can be in a situation where I can’t really blame them for taking that way out, painful as it is for loved ones (think terrible terminal diseases). But often not. I’m glad that there are resources like the suicide hotline linked here on these pages if anyone can and is willing to use them.

  8. I am shocked to read this. I unfortunately never met Bob, but his voice will be missed in the 2A community. RIP

  9. Everyone just lost a great defender of civil-rights. Its sad most people outside the gun community don’t know it. The archive of his columns are extremely important.
    RIP

  10. RIP Bob. I didn’t always agree with your take on things, but it was always worthy of consideration. Prayers for your family and friends.

    The 2A community lost a great voice Monday morning and we mourn the loss. We will gather ourselves and continue the fight as that is what Bob would want.

    FWIW, stats are that around 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Staggering number is it not? For those that find themselves in such a dark place, please reach out to someone. National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

  11. Well, none of us will live forever. I can’t judge him or anyone who decides to kill themselves…unless they harm others in the process.

    I believe there are circumstances where it may be preferable, especially to a prolonged, agonizing death. Shooting himself was probably messy but efficient. My condolences to his friends and family.

  12. We did not make an announcement on Bearing Arms because it was more important to us to give the the family a day to grieve than to break the story and get clicks.
    A simple gesture of respect this website is obviously too dense to comprehend.
    If you have a shred of dignity, you’ll post only kind remarks and fond memories of Bob. This is difficult enough for family and friends to deal with, I’m sure you can appreciate that the last thing we need is anyone picking apart a tragedy that we know will scar us for life.
    Please know that his daughters are reading what you write and act accordingly.

    • “Please know that his daughters are reading what you write and act accordingly.”
      Look, people are assholes. Tell his daughters that under no circumstances are they to read these comment sections. A family friend can, and save and edit the thread. Some pure, thoughtful commets will be made that they should hear, but I stress – people are assholes.

      Ask my ex wife…

    • Jenn, when I read the announcement here I was concerned with whether it was real or a hoax.
      So I went to BearingArms.com, but still didn’t know.

      Perhaps replacing the front page at BearingArms with a brief message concerning the founder’s death, and ‘BearingArms will be observing a day or two of silence while we cope with our grief” would have forestalled some of the speculation here?

    • Jenn, your right to grieve the loss of Bob is not questioned by anyone. Your right to hijack other outlets that may report the loss does not exist. TTAG posted a short and respectful note and the vast majority of comments were ones wishing the family shared sorrow for the loss and peace in this troubled time. I offer the same to you, the staff of BA, and the family. Your appearance here and attempt to lecture us and TTAG on respect and dignity falls flat, especially coming from an outlet (BA) that seemed to hold TTAG in such contempt, especially recently. I pray you may find peace as you grieve this terrible loss.

      • Well said, Sheepdog.

        Condolences to Mr. Owens’ family, his friends, colleagues, and to the community that enjoyed and appreciated his work.

        Expecting news to not be shared in this day and age is just silly. I like Jenn quite a bit, and am willing to chalk this up to grief making someone not think through what they are saying.

        I hope everyone, from TTAG, BA, and their communities, takes a step back and figures out a way to move forward from here. We lost a good one.

      • Thank you. Jeez, some people think they should be able to control blogs in which they have no affiliation. The nerve of that astounds me.

    • Jenn, no rational person wants Bob’s family to suffer. No comment here can approach the damage that Bob did, if he was the one to pull the trigger. As an author, he could have taken the time to write his wife and daughters, and explain the circumstances to them. Perhaps he did. Perhaps this was homicide rather than suicide. We don’t know. Maybe you do. Either way, it is better to remember people for the good they did.

      Nonetheless, it is reasonable, and important, to ask questions when people die a violent death.

        • I know. My comment, although strident, was in DEFENSE of Mr. Owens. It was still deleted by TTAG.

          Perhaps if I had mentioned “helicopter rides” and other implied threats of violence it would have been allowed to remain.

        • I had a comment deleted also. Commenting on the lack of class of the comment I was responding to.

          I’m glad they deleted my reply comment. Otherwise I look like I’m going nuts.

      • Or, it could just be the decent and nice thing to do to just pass on condolences and not speculate on the how and why of someones death or get into the morbid dissection of whatever drove a person to suicide.

  13. To the Owens Family,

    I was familiar with Bob and his work for years before being seated with him for dinner at this year’s SHOT Show Industry dinner. To be honest, I was a bit nervous as I knew Bob was deeply entrenched in gun guy/gal circles and I’ve always felt like a real outsider in the “club.”

    Bob was kind enough to introduce himself to me, ask me a few thoughtful questions, and listen intently as I responded. I was struck by three things. First, Bob didn’t owe me a thing including his attention, yet he gave it freely. Second, while our conversation was short, I felt like I had Bob’s complete attention, a rarity in this day and age of smartphones and social media.

    Third, and probably most important, an almost endless stream of friends and admirers stopped by our table to say hi and talk shop. I was really struck by how “connected” Bob was inside our little corner of the gun industry. He truly seemed to know everybody, something I was privately a bit envious of.

    Bob lived up to the hype in our first and last meeting. He was kind, informed, and the center of attention. I was very sad to read of his passing. I can’t think of anything I can do to help beyond offering truisms about Bob. But if you need anything, I’m here to help in any capacity.

    With love and prayers,

    Tyler Kee

    • I never had the good fortune to meet Mr. Owens. That is my loss.

      I posted something at BA this morning, but it never showed up. In short, I’m saddened by Bob’s passing. He was a great Second Amendment patriot working towards a righteous and noble cause larger than any of us. I aspired to emulate so much of what he’s done at an early age. Now that he’s gone, I’m in shock.

      To his family and friends, but especially his daughters: Know that your dad was a true American hero, fighting for the noble cause of freedom from oppression. You have much to be proud of in the work he did. Your loss is felt by more people than you can imagine nationwide.

      John Boch

  14. If you have never had migraine headaches you have no idea how agonizing they are. From high school to middle age I had them. If I had not had the proper Rx I can’t say it would not have been a consideration. The pain is excruciating!
    Fortunately I no longer have them. But if they come back I would be engaging a pain management MD
    My dad had to go to a Nursing Home when he developed leukemia and was on morphine for pain towards the end. Thank God he had a compassionate MD.

  15. I don’t know Bob Owens. I never met Bob Owens. But I still mourn his passing because he was One Of Us.

    RIP.

  16. I don’t believe this.

    From some cryptic Facebook confessional that reads like a liberal’s wet dream of what a conservative is to offing himself with a tool that he spent his life promoting to much hatred on the Left – this defies credulity.

    Four years later, no one has found whoever killed Keith Ratliff from FPSRussia either.

    I don’t doubt Bob Owens lifelong sincerity to his friends, family, and craft. Why can’t his friends and colleagues take a moment to consider that the man they knew from years of writings and personal experiences wasn’t perpetually on the verge of suicide?

    I also don’t think Breitbart or Scalia just keeled over and died. Or that Seth Rich was just a victim of a mugging gone wrong.

    The idea of Owens shooting himself plays into the hands of the people he railed against his entire life.

  17. I didn’t know Bob, but to his daughters I would like to emphasize what someone else said. Remember him not for how he died but for how he lived- he was a fighter against oppression and an inspiration to many. There are many of us who lost him but none as deeply as you. You have my sincere condolences. Stay strong and live well.
    God bless.

  18. My condolences to his family on the death of their father, husband etc. Sometimes the medications can cause this but whatever the cause, again my condolences. May God bless you all.

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