Any time the media’s favorite former “gun guy”-turned-gun control advocate gets invited to speak about gun control, hold on. It’s going to be a wild ride.
Ryan Busse, Senior Advisor for Giffords gun control group, was invited to MSNBC’s “Reidout” to speak with host Joy Reid as she bemoaned that she was allegedly afraid to leave her home on Independence Day for celebrations because “America’s awash in guns” and is insane.
Busse jumped right in with all the standard gun control talking points regardless of whether they are actually true, the better to feed Reid’s fears and scare her viewer(s). The conversation went down a road of hairpin turns, over through and around the truth, then straight off the edge into outright falsehoods.
Busse likes to pass himself off to adoring gun control media types as a firearm industry “expert” but make no mistake…he’s nothing of the sort. He dresses up in Fudd-ish plaid flannel, hunts with expensive shotguns and spends more time dabbling in blue-anon progressive politics than he does actually concentrating on things like the facts.
Don’t believe him. He’s nothing more than a modern-day snake oil salesman hawking gun control as a miracle cure-all elixir.
Fast and Loose
During his MSNBC appearance Busse came right out of the gate firing some of his made up “gun facts.” None of his wild ideas were challenged by Reid, of course, who devoured them in order to validate her preconceived notions that all guns are evil and gun owners are bad (except her guest, of course).
Never once did they address the need to prosecute criminals and hold them accountable. That, of course, would take away the need to swallow the gun control medicine.
Reid asked Busse what changed in America to make it a “shooting gallery.” “We have doubled the number of guns in our society in the last 20 years,” Busse answered.
That begs the question — what’s the appropriate number for firearms in lawful private possession? Maybe the figure Busse is more comfortable with is the millions of firearms he bragged about selling when he was worked for one company in the industry.
He has told the media he worked in the firearm industry from 1995-2020. During that time, the firearm manufacturer he worked for produced 2,353,516 rifles, pistols and revolvers for the American market. That’s not counting anything that was exported.
There are in fact more guns in America now than there were 20 years ago, just as there are more cars now. The lawful sale and ownership of firearms to law-abiding customers who want to buy them doesn’t cause crime any more than the sale of cars causes drunk driving.
For the entire time the industry – with his help – was allegedly turning America into a “shooting gallery” crime was falling to record lows. Crime began to rise during the pandemic and civil unrest that occurred beginning in 2020.
The U.S. Constitution doesn’t put a quota on the Second Amendment. It doesn’t say that only a certain number of firearms can be possessed by law-abiding Americans. Liberty isn’t limited that way and America agrees.
Pew Research polls Americans annually about gun ownership and consistently comes up with a statistic that roughly one third of Americans profess to owning a gun and 40 percent of Americans say they live in a household that has a firearm present. Small Arms Survey pegs the number of firearms in the United States at 393 million. NSSF has attested in U.S. Supreme Court briefs that there are over of 425 million firearms in American private possession.
What Busse and Reid ignore is that these gun owners are law-abiding citizens, not criminals. They have the constitutional right to own firearms. Every firearm sold at retail is completed with a signed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473, attesting that the purchaser isn’t a prohibited individual. That’s verified against the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
It seems Busse’s really concerned about more Americans lawfully exercising their Second Amendment rights than it is about the number of firearms. If he’s concerned about criminals misusing firearms, he skipped over that part, leading Reid’s viewers to believe they need to fear those who obey the law and not be concerned about “progressive” prosecutors that are soft on crime.
Sin of Omission
Busse wasn’t finished. Talking about civilian gun ownership, he gravely told Reid that “In fact, nothing is more targeted at the ability to remove the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of fellow citizens in a second or two, dozens of them as we have seen than the right to own firearms.”
Busse’s committing a sin of omission, here. First, nothing in the Second Amendment allows anyone to remove anyone else’s “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of fellow citizens.” What the Second Amendment does allow, however, is the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.
As the Supreme Court said in its Heller decision, the core of the Second Amendment is the natural right of self-defense. The Supreme Court didn’t limit the number and law-abiding citizens aren’t buying firearms to murder their neighbors. They’re buying guns to protect themselves against criminals who prey on the innocent. That’s been demonstrated time and again, including during the recent gun buying surge of 2020-2021.
Busse’s factually devoid, agenda-driven attacks on the firearm industry were unsurprisingly echoed by Reid. She attempted to fault the firearm industry for convincing Asian Americans to buy guns. This thinly-veiled racist sentiment asserts that Asian Americans can’t be fully trusted to make their own decisions to exercise the full spectrum of their Constitutional rights.
The fact is, Asian-Americans were and are being targeted in race-based violent attacks and they’re refusing to be victims. Chris Cheng, a noted firearm expert, testified on Capitol Hill that the Asian-American community took ownership of their Second Amendment rights when violent crime targeted that community.
“The past year-and-a-half or so with COVID-19 has been a pressure cooker… When you couple that with calls to defund the police and taking law enforcement officers off the street…it makes citizens like me less safe,” Cheng said in testimony in 2021. “If I can’t have law enforcement there, then it is a rational conclusion that individual citizens like myself would opt to utilize my Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm and use that firearm in lawful and legal self-defense.”
Cheng’s testimony wasn’t unique. Time magazine reported that Svetlana Kim and Ericson Reduta were among the Asian American community that didn’t own guns until they saw violence targeting their community. They bought guns and got trained.
That’s their right. Busse and Reid want to denigrate that, of course. It’s okay for Busse to own guns in his Montana home but they together question why an Asian American man or woman would choose to do the same in their Los Angeles home.
Accusations of the firearm industry fear-mongering are nothing short of projecting gun control’s own actions. Reid noted that when there is a heinous crime, firearm sales increase. Neither Reid nor Busse mentioned that along with these despicable crimes are the instant calls for guns bans by anti-gun politicians, coastal media elites, gun control groups like the one that employs Busse. When people become concerned they won’t be able to purchase the firearm that best suits their needs, they will exercise that right before gun-grabbing politicians steal that right away from them.
Still, there were more lies to come.
“The industry has also encouraged not — the stand your ground laws say don’t just have a gun, shoot someone. Use it,” Reid said. “Somebody rings your doorbell, shoot them because we’ll protect you under the law.”
That’s a lie. Here’s the truth. NSSF, as the Firearm Industry Trade Association, on behalf of the firearm industry has never taken a position on stand-your-ground laws. We are unaware of any individual industry member who did. Why? Because it’s not an industry issue, it’s a gun owner issue.
The industry advocates for safe and responsible firearm ownership and partners with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and 15,000 other law enforcement agencies for Real Solutions. Safer Communities.
The most notorious example of anyone advocating for blindly firing a gun at perceived but unconfirmed threats at the door was then-Vice President Biden when he said he told his wife, Jill, to “fire two blasts” from a shotgun into the night sky without knowing who or what that target might be.
Uninformed comments about the firearm industry that aren’t backed by facts should be treated the same way as errant shotgun blasts into the night. Don’t do them and don’t tolerate them.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.