The Program

Back in January, 1995, Tom Gresham was attending the SHOT Show, the huge annual trade show for the firearms industry, when a casual conversation lead to the idea of a radio talk show about guns. Only six weeks later he was on the air, being beamed to three satellites and 20 radio stations.
A radio industry consultant told Tom the show would be lucky to be carried on 35 stations after two years, if it could stay on the air that long. He didn't know Tom ... or how many gun owners there are in the U.S. (there's a gun in half the homes in the country.)

With a goal of placing the show on 50 affiliates in 12 months, Tom started working -- putting in 12 to 16 hours a day, calling radio stations all over the country. When the 12-month mark passed, Tom Gresham's Gun Talk was running on more than 80 radio stations, Tom had been named the 1996 Shooting Sports Writer of the Year, and was included in Talkers Magazine's list of The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts In America.

On Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, listeners soon learn three things about the show and guns: Safety, personal responsibility, and common courtesy. Other than that, Tom will talk about anything having to do with guns -- particular firearms, ammunition, different types of recreational and competitive shooting, hunting, even politics. And listeners don't have to agree with the host to participate and be treated politely.

Guests also join TomÖfrom shooters to gun, accessory, and reloading manufacturers to training specialists to political activists to the occasional gun-savvy celebrity.

Tom also takes plenty of time to talk with listeners. Their views, advice and questions are the driving force of the show.

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Tom Gresham

When I started the show in 1995 my goal was to be the reasonable voice in the gun debate. There are extremists on both sides of this issue, but the strident views and shouts from the fringes don't educate the public and they don't move us toward informed policy decisions. Iíve said it many times in my broadcast that I don't repeat the claims from the NRA (where I'm not a particularly popular person). Data from the CDC, the FBI, the National Safety Council, and various law enforcement agencies tend to be factual and the most useful.

Iím often asked about mass shootings, and my message is always the same - We have to acknowledge the terror inflicted, the tragic loss and how it will impact so many families for decades. The randomness of these attacks makes it all the more frightening.

I like to offer thoughts on how people can react to such an attack to try to get to safety -- though awareness and immediate escape. This is a topic I talk about often -- keeping yourself and your family safe, with or without a firearm.

As to the issue of public policy, as always, I offer perspective. According to the FBI there are a couple of dozen mass shootings a year. Certainly they are horrible, but in almost every case the proposals for even more (than the 20,000 gun laws currently on the books) gun control measures beg the question: "How would that have prevented this particular attack?" It's not an easy question, and I always approach it carefully and respectfully, but I also reject the idea that we must "do something" even if it has no chance (given the vast track record) of preventing future attacks. If the discussion is about the firearm, there are more than 20 million Modern Sporting Rifles (semi-autos) in the country. According to the FBI, more people are murdered each year with fists and feet than with all types of rifles.

The AR-15 rifle is a subset of rifles. As with all other firearms, people use them for many reasons, and the data from multiple sources show that guns are used in self defense (saving lives) millions of times.

Itís nothing new. I used a semi-auto rifle on my first deer hunt, when I was 11 years old. That was in 1962. President Teddy Roosevelt hunted with a semi-auto rifle.

Perspective and respect. That's what I offer, as I always do. As with all shows, I welcome calls from people who have views different from mine. I don't cut off people and I don't shout them down. I give them the floor to make their case, and then I ask questions.

If youíve read this far, Thank You for allowing me to give you an idea on how I approach "Tom Gresham's Gun Talk" each week.


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