Traverse City News and Events

Champion Of Second Amendment Rights, Right Here

Nov. 12, 2014

A local resident and small business owner is making a name for himself around the country as a commentator for NRA News, which shares news and views on the Second Amendment online.

“I don’t speak for anyone other than myself,” Billy Johnson tells The Ticker, pointing out he's not a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. “NRA News doesn’t dictate any topics. There is no scripting, no idea process.”

Johnson was a voice for “rights-based issues” before he caught the attention of NRA News. He started his own YouTube channel, Amidst the Noise, two years ago – shortly after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Ct. He says he was “a little frustrated” by conversations that weren’t being had about the tragedy.

Without any prep, the former filmmaker jumped in front of the camera and made a 10-minute video. It went viral with more than 1 million views.

“I was just at the right place at the right time,” he says of the response. “Six or seven months later, the NRA came calling.”

The news organization wanted him to make Second Amendment videos for its target audience. Today he is one of seven commentators.

His first video was titled “Violence,” in which he references school shootings and posits that political leader’s focus on the tools of violence (i.e. guns) leads to bad policy. It can be viewed here, along with his other episodes.

Johnson says he didn’t make the videos so people would agree with him.

“I made these videos because I want to get people to think about things in a different way … pulling complex issues apart and trying to find the root cause of the problem,” he says.

Other discussion topics include domestic violence, gun control, firearm ignorance, the weakening of constitutional rights in America, the association of violence and masculinity in our culture and more.

“The Second Amendment, unfortunately, tends to be a very contentious issue … which prevents open dialogue,” adds Johnson.

He stresses the importance of looking at his videos as a whole.

"One of the biggest things is the dialogue,” Johnson says. “We don’t need to violate our rights to solve problems as a nation. Anytime someone is trying to restrict rights it needs to be talked about.”

Johnson is also the founder of Boxer Tactical, which he launched in Grawn in 2011. He parlayed an interest in manufacturing as the son of a manufacturer into a “cut and sew shop.”

Boxer Tactical is the first of hopefully many brands, Johnson says, founded on his model of all American-made materials and a transparent manufacturing process, which means the company identifies where all the material comes from.

The products, which include belts and slings for the shooting sports industry, are available for sale via Amazon.

Johnson chose to target the shooting sports industry because “that is one industry that appreciates American-made. But all brands will carry that same model. Everything we sell are things we make.”

Johnson recently brought on a business partner and is moving the manufacturing facility from Grawn to Arizona. However, he, and the company’s sales and marketing, will remain here.

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