Even so, the industry as a whole was evolving in a way he found irresponsible. That change crystallized for him in 2010 at an NRA convention in Charlotte, NC, where he saw a large poster advertising the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle that read, “Consider your reissued man’s card â. The slogan is said to be part of a lawsuit brought by the families of those killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which claims the gun maker used militaristic marketing campaigns that appealed to self-help. saying sofa commandos and troubled young men like the perpetrator. of the 2012 bombing.
âI remember a lot of us in the industry whispering to each other, looking at each other like, damn it,â Busse said. “The standards were being broken, and many of us who had been in the industry for a while weren’t sure what to think about it.”
This trend in marketing, he said, has only intensified, pointing out that a company now markets a rifle under the name “Urban Super Sniper”.
The Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 first graders and six adults were killed, was a watershed moment. âMy kids were almost exactly the same age as those Sandy Hook kids,â Busse said. “I don’t know if there has ever been something so horrible.”
He added: “It was kind of like, okay, if that doesn’t stimulate legislation, nothing will.” (The attack did not lead to new federal regulations.)
Still, nearly eight years passed before Busse stepped down as Kimber’s vice president of sales. He delayed, he said, because he believed he could make a difference from within the industry. There were also practical issues: He was making $ 210,000 a year, he said, but he was 50, had a family, and could barely afford to leave his salary behind.
His wife, Sara Busse, kept urging him to leave. In 2019, as they were celebrating their 20th anniversary, she confined him to a hotel room and said, “We’re not leaving until we have a plan.”