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Exclusive Interview with Taya Kyle, Part 2: "American Sniper" Widow Talks SHOT Show, Shooting Sports

Facebook/Taya Kyle-American Wife

Taya Kyle discusses SHOT Show and the current state of the shooting sports industry in Part 2 of our exclusive interview.

Speaking with Wide Open Spaces following her participation in CNN's "Guns in America" town hall event, Taya Kyle discussed her plans for SHOT Show 2016, the current state of the shooting sports industry today, and her idea of what the future looks like.

You can read Part I of the interview, in which she directly addresses gun safety in our country, here.

Kyle is appearing as a special guest of Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel at the 16th Annual Outdoor Sportsman Awards Powered by RAM. She's slated to present the award for Best Overall TV Series, honoring the networks' notable talent and production teams.

We caught up with her and talked about a variety of things, including her thoughts on SHOT Show, being part of Outdoor Channel's activities, and the overall state of the shooting industry in America.

Wide Open Spaces: As we all know, SHOT Show is a trade show unlike any other. Have you been before? Has it met your expectations as a trade show? Do you think certain things can be improved upon? 

Taya Kyle: I've been the last several years. I heard about it from Chris when he would go. And I think that it's already very successful because it accommodates a large number of booths and people and everyone brings one of their latest products or technologies to the market to show everyone else. I think the other thing is that, it's ended up being the biggest networking opportunity for people involved in any kind of outdoor or sportsman activity. During the year, you can knock out a bunch of your major business meetings in one place, which makes it really beneficial for people.

Credit: Taya Kyle - American Wife (Facebook)
Taya Kyle - American Wife/Facebook

WOS: Normally, what do you enjoy doing at SHOT Show whenever you're there? 

TK: Well, when I've been there, it's usually with business meetings already set up, so I haven't gone around and traveled the floor as much as I'd might like to. I tend to have a meeting set up, and go from meeting-to-meeting, and see things on the way from one booth to another. I know that was Chris' feeling most of the time, too. He was just salivating over all the things he saw on the way walking from one place to another, and he would want the time to explore personally instead of be so wrapped up in the business end of it. I think you could certainly spend every hour that it's open during the whole week of the show and not see everything there. It's crazy. You definitely need comfortable boots at SHOT Show.

WOS: Can you tell us, without giving away any kind of spoilers, what you'll be doing during the Outdoor Sportsman Awards and what you're looking forward to, if you're nervous, or kind of excited about it? Give us your whole thoughts about the awards show. 

TK: Sure. Well, I'll be presenting an award and getting to spend time with all these great people involved in the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. I think it's fun--I love to be in a situation where we're celebrating people's accomplishments. They have the fan-voting component which I think also makes it perhaps more meaningful to the people that get the award. I think it's going to be a fun night to celebrate the hard work that everyone's put into the year of shows that we've seen both on Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel.

WOS: How do you feel regarding the attention you received with your question [at CNN'S Guns in America town hall] and how Obama's response to it was perceived? All of us understood that he dodged your question. Expound upon your thoughts relating to asking him that question and how you feel about his remarks following your question. 

TK: I tried to really do my research before I went. I think a lot of us, no matter what you feel about this issue, sometimes we can all get caught up in tag lines or statistics that people are commonly throwing around, and we forget to look at the other side's thoughts and concerns to see how they might be similar.

The more I reached out and talked to different people on different sides of the issue, I just sort of boiled it down to a few things. And one was, wait a minute--we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about this, and it's all based in people's hopes for getting rid of murder 100 percent in this country, which, although it's impossible, it's still a really good thing to work towards, obviously. We also come from a place of fear, and everybody's fears are different.

If we can look at it realistically and say, 'Well, we're not in a bad position in the first place.' Let's just acknowledge that so that we can have a dialogue without having our defenses up so much that we're missing the common ground.

That's what motivated me to ask the question that I did because I do feel like people are on the same page. They want hope that their freedoms aren't going to be taken away. They want hope that it's a safe time, while living in a safe country. That we can have hope that the American people are trustworthy and that we can maybe look at ways together to get, to look at the type of mentality of a person who would actually murder, because there are so few people who will actually murder someone.

I think that's pivotal to the whole discussion. It's really stopping for a minute and thinking, it's not somebody saying something flippantly about wanting to get rid of a person; it's somebody who actually is thinking, planning ahead, and wanting to go out and kill another human being. Those people just are so rare. There really aren't that many people in this world who choose to do that. There's self-protection, that's different. There are jobs in the military and police force, that's different. But I'm talking about people with evil intent and the heart to murder another human being. It's very different.

I wrote an op-ed piece for CNN, a written piece, where I draw sort of similar lines to road rage. You can be driving in your car and know you have a vehicle that can kill someone. People might get close, they might cut someone off, they might yell, they might get angry, they might feel threatened or scared or all these things. But how many people take their car and look at a person and say, 'I'm going to ram them so hard, I'm going to take their life'? We don't have the heart for that, and I just wanted that to be more present in the conversation so that we can deal with who are those people and how to do we get to them, how do we stop them?

WOS: You recently won a shooting competition, and you continue to make appearances at SHOT Show and similar events. What's in the cards for you? What do you plan to do for the future?

TK: I'm not this huge gun advocate. I just look at the issues and the people behind it and the purpose of it. Then I stand behind what I feel is right and hopefully will help people. If I can't do that, then I try not to be involved. If it is something I can help with, then I try to go forward.

Going forward, I guess it's more of the same: my life has not gone the way that I planned it to go. And at some point, I had to recognize that I don't know what's next. Anybody that thinks they necessarily do, it's probably an illusion that just brings you cover because it's probably not reality. So for me, I truly feel at this point, I've given my life to God and said whatever comes my way, I'll pray about, see what God says, see if I can do anything good with it, then if I can, that's how I'm deciding what I'm doing going forward.

But whatever I do, I know God comes first, and my kids are in there. I hope that I can continue to honor Chris' life. The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is something I'm passionate about, helping marriages of first responders and veterans. After that, I'm leaving it open.

We have some television shows in the talks for "American Wife" and "American Gun." We've got some agreements for the foundation and some for the family to carry on Chris' legacy. There are talks for another book. [We're] hoping for another show and different news things. Overall, if it comes down to how we live a balanced life and do the most good we can, then I'm going to see how it all unravels.

To follow Taya's next move and learn more about her efforts, connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Learn how you can support Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, and watch for Taya at the live stream of the .


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Exclusive Interview with Taya Kyle, Part 2: "American Sniper" Widow Talks SHOT Show, Shooting Sports