One-on-One with August A. Busch III
One of the best things about my role as the executive director of ILA is the opportunity to work with people across America who care deeply about our fundamental Second Amendment rights and our great American hunting heritage.
Over the years, I have worked closely with activists, elected officials and business leaders. One of those leaders is August A. Busch III, the former president, CEO and chairman of the board of the Anheuser-Busch Companies. I recently had a chance to visit with August about his love of hunting and the shooting sports and about his dedication to protecting our right to keep and bear arms.
Cox: First, it’s great to see you again and thanks for taking the time to talk about these important issues.
Cox: With so many other issues and causes that make demands on your time, why have you made the Second Amendment a top priority?
Busch: I think for the same reasons so many other people do. The right to own a firearm is vital to the protection of all our freedoms. Our Founding Fathers understood this and I think the forces working to tear down that right fail to see just how fundamental it is.
Cox: We are facing a significant threat right now, and your support has come at a crucial time.
Busch: There is no doubt that recent events have emboldened those who would strip away our rights. I think that all of us need to step up and do all we can.
Cox: One of the areas you have made a priority is the NRA Freedom Action Foundation. Why did you make that choice?
Busch: If we are going to prevail and pass on our liberties to the next generation, those of us who believe in liberty must be involved in the political process. The key to that is voting in every election. The Freedom Action Foundation is all about making that happen by focusing on nonpartisan voter registration programs. Gun owners, sportsmen and everyone who cares about protecting our liberties needs to be registered and they need to vote. My support of the Freedom Action Foundation is one way that I can help make that a reality.
Cox: I agree with you in every way on that point. The Freedom Action Foundation is key to making gun owners’ voices heard at the polls.
Busch: It is. The Foundation has done a great job with the “Trigger the Vote” program that uses the Internet to spread the word and to register voters. Freedom-loving celebrities such as “Gunny” [R. Lee] Ermey, Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent have lent their time and energy to get the word out. I am proud that I can help make that program possible.
Cox: I know that in addition to your dedication to protecting the Second Amendment you are a lifelong hunter. What has that meant to you and your family?
Busch: Hunting and enjoying the outdoors have been important to my family. It’s always been some of our best time together as a family. That’s why I have made it a top priority to protect hunting lands and give future generations a place to hunt.
Cox: What do you see as the next great challenge in protecting our hunting heritage?
Busch: I think there are two things and they are closely related. First, we have to have greater outreach to young Americans to introduce them to hunting and to the real beauty of spending time in the field. Other demands on kids’ time, whether it’s team sports or electronic entertainment, make that harder every year. We might have millions of young people who have spent countless hours “hunting” on a computer or TV screen, but have never once set foot in the field. Our generation needs to make sure they have the opportunities that we had.
The second challenge is to make sure that hunting land is available to everyone. Without a place to hunt, we will not be able to introduce our children and grandchildren to the outdoors. It’s getting harder and harder for people living in cities and suburbs to find places to hunt near their homes. We need to make sure that our public lands are open to hunters. The NRA has worked extensively in that area at both the federal and state levels, but as you know, there is always more to do.
Cox: What do you think the future holds for gun ownership in America?
Busch: Honestly, I think the future of gun ownership and the Second Amendment is in our hands. That is why the voter registration operation is so important.
If every gun owner, and every American who respects the concept of individual freedom, stays involved, we can stop the erosion of our liberties. We won’t win every fight, but as your efforts have proved time and again, even in the face of a relentless campaign of misinformation from politicians and the media, freedom can prevail.
Cox: Any final comments for our members?
Busch: Just this. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to protect our individual liberties. This is an important point. The Constitution guarantees that no government will be able to take away our fundamental freedoms. The Second Amendment ensures that the American people will be able to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. That’s why each generation has a responsibility to protect liberty and freedom. I know the NRA and its members are dedicated to that goal.
Cox: Thank you for your time and your words of wisdom. And thank you for your generous support of the NRA’s efforts to protect our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.
James W. Porter II, PRESIDENT
Allan Cors, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Pete Brownell, SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Wayne LaPierre, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Edward J. Land Jr., SECRETARY
Wilson H. Phillips Jr., TREASURER
Kyle Weaver, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GENERAL OPERATIONS
Christopher W. Cox, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION