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Former exec says the gun industry is designed to profit from hatred, fear, conspiracy

A magazine advertisement for an AR-style firearm describes it as "engineered to the specs of freedom and independence." AR-platform firearms are often marketed using words that emphasizes the firearm's ability to be customized and evoke a sense of patriotism, freedom and military strength. (Lisa Marie Pane/AP)
A magazine advertisement for an AR-style firearm describes it as "engineered to the specs of freedom and independence." AR-platform firearms are often marketed using words that emphasizes the firearm's ability to be customized and evoke a sense of patriotism, freedom and military strength. (Lisa Marie Pane/AP)

In a recent article in The Bulwark, written after the deadly Buffalo, New York, mass shooting, Ryan Busse wrote, “Sadly, there is nothing broken about what we’re experiencing. The system is working exactly as intended.”

And he should know: Busse was an executive in the gun industry for more than 25 years before leaving in 2020, disillusioned with a system he says shifted from focusing on safety and responsible gun ownership to marketing based on fear and conspiracy.

After leaving gun manufacturer Kimber, Busse became senior policy advisor to Giffords, the non-profit founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was seriously injured in a shooting. He joins host Robin Young to talk about the transformation of the gun industry, his personal transformation — though he’s still a proud gun owner and user — and his 2021 book, “Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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