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.”
Posts about Owens, a shooting enthusiast and a well-known Second Amendment advocate, have flooded social media.
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 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.”
In a statement, Jacques wrote 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, a conservative media site that owns Bearing Arms, 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 class, 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.
Politically, Owens said he was an advocate of small government, low taxes and “muscular projection of foreign policy.”
Shortly after President Trump was elected, Owens described Clinton’s candidacy as one driven by “an attitude of ‘I deserve this.’”
“When many voters feel that the nominee was selected by people within the upper reaches of party because it was ‘her turn,’ and that the nomination was rigged by the party to exclude worthwhile challengers, it turns off voters,” Owens wrote, adding later: “You also have to convince voters that it is vital for people to actually show up on election day and cast their ballots, which Mrs. Clinton simply did not do.”
In an article in August, Owens called Clinton’s gun policies “radical” and said she was “the most dangerous and corrupt candidate to ever be nominated for President.”
Clinton has maintained that while she respects the Second Amendment, she’s also a proponent of expanding background checks, tightening restrictions for gun purchases, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons.
Owens also criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, calling it “an attempt by left wing radicals to delegitimize local law enforcement.”
“Black Lives Matter is a lie … and it is being used to incite domestic terrorism,” Owens wrote in September, in an article that he said was in response to an email from a high school student asking about his thoughts about Black Lives Matter.
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.
This post has been updated.