When I decided to write a book about my life with guns and my time at the National Rifle Association, it was clear I would be stepping into the proverbial firestorm. I didn’t expect to be embraced as a hero—I am hardly that. I hoped, though, that my insider’s perspective could help both sides of the gun debate. But we live in a world where the loudest voices hijack the day. And in my short time standing up as a whistleblower, I have found that few leaders on either side really want to hear what I have to say about the true nature of gun violence and the deep corruption of the N.R.A.

On the left, I don’t pass the purity test. I was hoping I could bring folks to the center on reasonable solutions and explain how the gun lobby riles up the right to keep those reforms at bay. But unless I profess I’ve had a full road-to-Damascus conversion, I’m still part of what’s bad about guns. A New York Times reviewer told readers not to buy the book. Literally.