About Walk the Talk America
Raised in an urban environment that shunned gun culture by a pro-2nd amendment (“2A Community”) family with ties to the rearm and sporting industries, WTTA Founder Michael Sodini is known by many as the most “un-gun gun guy”. Since 2009, he owned and operated his family’s successful firearm company (Eagle Imports). A chance encounter one evening in 2018 changed everything when Michael and his National Sales manager invited a stranger to join them at their dinner table. The conversation naturally shifted to gun violence in America. The young woman asked, “What happens when there is a school shooting?”Michael explained that one side blames the gun while the other side blames mental health. Because of this, unfortunately, nothing is ever resolved. The woman then asked,“Well, how do you as an industry work with mental health if you have identified the problem? It would make sense that the two industries work hand and hand.”
A spark went off in Michael’s head. All too often, firearms owners were foregoing mental health services for fear of losing their firearm rights, while many mental health practitioners lacked the training to properly serve members of the 2A Community. In July 2018, Michael founded Walk the Talk America to address the issue head-on.
Through formal education, outreach, and engagement with the mental health and firearms communities, Walk the Talk America aspires to reduce firearm suicides and other negative incidents associated with firearms ownership.
Our goal is to raise awareness and create a change in the misunderstandings regarding mental illness and firearms by bringing together industry leaders to reduce gun violence, negligence, suicide, and the trauma created by these events. Develop programs for suicide prevention, firearms negligence, trauma mitigation, and child safety.
Our Vision for the Future
Eradicating the prejudice that both the firearms and mental health industries face while reducing the number of tragedies and deaths that have occurred over the years since the US has had a decline in mental health funding and education. Creating an organization that is solely focused on making change and is made up of experts from different fields and all walks of life that is not corrupted by politics, the media, or personal prejudices. We will seek out input opportunities to further enhance communication, compassion, calls to action, and education.
We have created alliances between the leading experts and organizations in the firearms and mental health industries. They have the knowledge and proper call to action to reach those who may want the help but have either been ignored or simply have been too afraid to seek help because of the misconceptions that come with mental illness. We have also established commitments from several experienced and concerned colleagues in the firearm industry that are willing to donate their time, resources, and money to help. Historically, both industries have cared deeply about this issue but have never been connected. WalktheTalkAmerica.org is a way to bring people together. The professionals and academics from both industries are moving forward with combining efforts, information, and resources to achieve our vision for the future.
Our Team & Leadership
We have the honor of having our board full of industry leaders and experts. Each one of our our members brings years of experience and knowledge, which is one major reason WTTA will be successful.
Trustee and Officer
Jose Fierro is a retired Marine combat veteran with a passion for Veteran outreach. He has assisted Walk the Talk America in refining their mission and focusing on reducing the number of suicides by firearms, which disproportionally affects the Veteran community.
Dustin Lynn Jones
Eddie is passionate about the mission of WTTA and routinely is a guest on podcasts talking about the organization. Eddie understands the need to train mental health counselors in the gun culture world while helping gun owners maintain their own mental well-being without fear or stigma.