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Theodore Sedgwick Distinguished Lecture Series

Date: September 12, 2023
Time: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Location: The Filson Historical Society (In Person Only)

Firearms in America: The Most Important Test of our Democracy

Presented by the University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute in collaboration with the Filson Historical Society. Reception before the lecture starting at 4:30 PM with book signing available during this time as well.  Lecture to start at 5:30 PM.

No American freedom is more powerful or symbolic than our right to own firearms because no other freedom has the potential to so immediately impact the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of our fellow citizens. Hence, this immensely powerful freedom requires an equally immense responsibility, and how effective we are at balancing the two may well determine whether our democracy can survive. This presentation examines the realities of guns in America through the lens of a former firearms executive who is both a proud gun owner and someone very concerned with the ramifications of our current national imbalance.

Ryan Busse is a former firearms executive who helped build one of the world’s most iconic gun companies and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the prestigious Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award.

As Ryan’s career progressed, he recognized cultural touchstones of his youth were being twisted into troubling NRA extremism that he believed was radicalizing an entire nation. He spent nearly two decades finding ways to fight back from the inside, eventually leaving his career in 2020. In October 2021, he published his memoir becoming the first insider to tell the story of the firearms industry. Gunfight, has received voluminous national praise as a deeply personal and critically important book. Since the book launch, Ryan has appeared on dozens of national podcasts, radio programs and TV shows including features by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, National Public Radio, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. Ryan has briefed the U.S. Senate, testified twice before Congress, and has written multiple articles for The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Bulwark.

Busse is also an environmental advocate who has served in many leadership and policy advisory roles for conservation organizations including the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Senate Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Biden Presidential campaign. He remains a proud outdoorsman, gun owner, father, and resident of Montana.