By Larry Keane
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Who Is Ryan Busse?
Ryan Busse is at it again. His tedious gun control “holier-than-thou” schtick is wearing thin, which might be why he’s now adding pseudo sociologist, criminologist, psychologist and psychiatrist to his self-proclaimed list of expertise as “firearm industry expert.”
He’s none of those. Busse is a charlatan. He’s a paid shill for gun control who has yet to find a media outlet that won’t fawn over his “Saul-to-Paul” conversion from defender of firearms to shotgun-toting, plaid-wearing doomsday prophet shouting repentance admonitions at anyone who dares to disagree with his gun control crusade.
Now, he’s adding in layman observations to justify his fire-and-brimstone gun control sermons. Busse spoke with ProPublica about what he believes are the root-causes of heinous and murderous crimes. Spoiler alert – he blames the firearm industry. Busse claims that firearm manufacturers have broken a “social contract.”
“There were just these unspoken codes of conduct the industry knew not to violate,” he said. “And those seem to have broken down.”
He caveated his comments that he’s a gun owner who hunts and shoots with his sons and wants to continue to exercise that right – so long as the “commensurate amount of responsibility” goes along with that. That responsibility, Busse explains, must be voluntary or legislated. It also must be coerced through threat of imprisonment.
Busse contends that Second Amendment rights allow for those who have not broken any laws to be placed on federal government watchlists so universal background checks can be accommodated. For that to work, every gun owner would need to be registered with the federal government and monitored. Free-exercise of rights cannot be trusted to the people who grant the authority to govern, in his estimation. The same goes for extreme risk protection orders, or so-called “red flag” laws, which he thinks should be written to make it easier for government authorities to seize firearms without the burden of providing Due Process rights – another fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Busse blames America’s fascination with free exercise of rights on several factors, including deep-seated racism. He points to President Barack Obama’s election as the reason for the rise in firearm sales.
“So you have this sort of uncapping of hate and conspiracy, much of it racially driven, that the NRA was tapping into,” he said.
Busse makes no mention of President Obama’s determination to ban Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) or impose radical gun control on the country. He ignores that President Obama illegally allowed firearms to cross the border into Mexico and end up in the hands of narco-terrorists to drive a gun control narrative. The illegal Operation Fast and Furious gun running scheme cost the life of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless innocent Mexican lives. Nor was there mention of President Obama’s illegal “Operation Choke Point” scheme with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to deny the firearm industry access to financial services.
Americans bought guns because they recognized the very people entrusted to protect their freedoms were systematically dismantling them. They were buying guns before that right would be robbed from them.
Busse said the recent surge of gun-buying was also racially-motivated. He ignores that Americans from all walks of life purchased firearms because they saw federal, state and local authorities were defunding police and allowing lawlessness, violence and crime to run amok. Busse passes off this unchallenged narrative by ignoring that 2020 witnessed a 58 percent increase of African-Americans purchasing guns, along with a 49 percent increase of Hispanic-Americans and 43 percent increase of Asian-Americans. Forty percent of new gun buyers were women.
Busse alleges that high-profile tragedies committed by deranged individuals are the fault of advertising. He fails to consider that these murderers displayed warning signs of erratic behavior and threats. The racist murderer in Buffalo, N.Y., was previously held for mental health concerns and had made threats against his high school. The murderer in Uvalde, Texas, was mentally unstable and cast a variety of warning signs that were never acted upon. The murderer at Nashville’s Covenant School was treated for mental and emotional disorders. That murderer’s manifesto is still being held and questions remain about medications that might have played a role. The murderer in Highland Park, Ill., previously had knives confiscated after making threats against his family. The incident was treated as a “mental-health issue.” No follow-up was done to make sure he didn’t have access to firearms.
Doctors are warning that certain medications prescribed to treat ADHD can “create a ‘perfect storm’ for psychotic episodes.”
This is largely ignored, especially when antigun zealots point fingers at the firearm industry to shift blame. It’s part of a larger effort to not just attack Second Amendment rights but also the protected commercial free speech of firearm manufacturers, which is backed by gun control groups like Giffords, which employs Busse.
Busse passes off his gun control mantras as the only possible answer for the criminal misuse of firearms. The truth is much more complicated and all are searching for the answers. The firearm industry backed proposals in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to provide more resources for mental health services across the nation. It was the firearm industry that changed the law in 16 states to ensure adjudicated mental health disqualifications are submitted to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The federal effort to ensure all disqualifying records are submitted to NICS was named for NSSF’s FixNICS® program. That was an effort even Giffords supported but Busse conveniently ignores.
Busse’s admonitions to address the issue of criminal misuse of firearms is to scrap freedoms and start anew.
“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,” he told ProPublica.
The problem with that is it isn’t freedom at all. That’s authoritarianism. Rights under Busse’s construct aren’t rights at all. They’re just privileges doled out and taken back by an elite few.
Busse is, of course, among the elites who would dictate which rights would be acceptable. He poses with high-end shotguns and brags of how he sold more 1911-style handguns than the designer John Browning. He eschews the MSR as a message-tested “weapon-of-war,” ignoring that the handguns he helped sell were actually carried in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War and variants are still used by elements of the U.S. military today. He glosses over that the Second Amendment is a right, protected by the U.S. Constitution to protect “We the People” against an overreaching and tyrannical government that would usurp the authority granted to politicians by the citizens. He treats firearm ownership as a privilege, not a right.
In his mind, the vile sins of deranged individuals that would ignore law and basic dignity of life should be burdened upon those who never broke the law. The great unwashed masses must dispossess themselves of the ability to protect themselves and their families because criminally-insane individuals prey upon the innocent.
This is gun control’s theology. Redemption can only be achieved in Busse’s mind by casting God-given rights and lawfully-owned firearms on the altar of gun control. There is no sacrificing freedom for security. Our Founding Fathers knew as much. This is why more than 200 years on, the sage counsel of Benjamin Franklin rings true. “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.
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