Bob Owens, editor of the popular pro-gun blog BearingArms.com, died Monday in what authorities have ruled a suicide.
Officials say Owens shot himself in the head near his North Carolina home. He was found around 11 a.m. near a stop sign outside his subdivision in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., a town southwest of Raleigh. A gun was located nearby, according to the Fuquay-Varina Police Department.
Shortly before Owens’s death, he apparently wrote a chilling message on Facebook: “In the end, it turns out that I’m not strong. I’m a coward, and selfish son of a b‑‑‑‑. I’m sorry.”
Commenting on her husband’s last Facebook post, his wife, Christine Zamzow Owens, wrote: “You were nothing but a wonderful husband, loving father and giving friend. You always did what you thought was right even though it was not the popular thing to do. You were never a coward, or selfish, just hurting. I love you baby, you were my world.”
However, other comments were much less reverent and his suicide is sure to be a talking point among the anti-gun crowd.
On Tuesday morning, BearingArms.com published a story written by Jenn Jacques, Owens’s co-editor.
Its headline: “We Are Diminished — R.I.P. Bob Owens.”
In the article, Jacques wrote “In the end, all that matters is he will be sorely missed, and the truth is that we will never truly know what happened,” Jacques wrote. “What we do know is that while Bob was a huge part of the 2A world, he was first and foremost a son, brother, husband, father, and a friend.”
Jacques also posted on Twitter that she was “profoundly devastated.”
“Even that phrase seems insignificant compared to what I’m feeling,” Jacques said. ” … I am having an extremely hard time with this and am asking everyone to just focus on and pray for his family. He would laugh at how many tissues I went through writing this status. And I would do anything to hear that laugh again.”
Owens is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 9 and 17, according to Bearing Arms.
The 46-year-old North Carolina native has been writing about gun rights and firearms since 2007. He started writing for the politics blog Confederate Yankee three years earlier.
In 2013, Townhall, the conservative media site that owns BearingArms.com, hired Owens to be the blog’s editor.
“We’re excited to bring Bob aboard to head one of the fastest growing online Second Amendment communities,” Townhall Vice President and General Manager Jonathan Garthwaite said in a statement in October 2013, shortly after Bearing Arms launched. “In just the first month, Bearing Arms has received one million unique readers. Bob Owens brings tremendous knowledge and credibility to the brand.”
Owens was a certified firearms instructor with roughly 400 hours of professional training classes, according to a brief biography on BearingArms.com.
In one of his last articles for the site, Owens wrote about what it was like to be a firearms instructor.
“Thanks to my job, I get to do a lot of very cool firearms training classes and media events sponsored by manufacturers,” he wrote in March. “From aerial target interdictions to storming a prison cell block full of terrorist robots while wearing night vision gear in the dead of night, to shooting machine guns and $25,000 precision rifles, I’ve had a blast. Literally.”
In a 2006 interview with The Washington Post, Owens said he had always enjoyed writing and always felt “people were entitled to my opinion.” At the time, Owens was author of Confederate Yankee.
“What constantly amazes me is that literally tens of people each day willingly volunteer to submit themselves to my hits and missives, and many become regular readers,” Owens said.
He also said that if he weren’t a blogger, he would’ve been a soldier; but, he said, his left knee “refused to cooperate.”
“My high school guidance counselor suggested the Forest Service, which would not have been a bad choice, but I wouldn’t mind being a hunting or fishing guide, either,” Owens said.
According to his personal website, Owens was working on a novel, “The Long Way Home.” He’d published a short e-book titled “So You Want to Own a Gun,” a reference guide for citizens thinking about buying a firearm for the first time.
No details have yet been released regarding his motives for taking his own life. However, his death has been felt by many in conservative and gun industry circles. It is a tragedy whenever anyone resorts to such measures and even more so when anti-gun and anti-rights forces use such tragedies to advance their political agenda. While many mourn, many others will no doubt be looking to capitalize politically.
R.I.P Bob Owens and sincerest sympathies and condolences to the Owens family.