From firearms industry giants to Olympic shooting sports legends and gunslingers of the silver screen, here is a look back at those lost to the gun community in 2020.

Osmo Ala-Honkola - Finnish sports shooter who competed at the 1968 and the 1972 Summer Olympics. He died in November, aged 81.

Sergey Belyayev - This Kazakhstani sports shooter won two silver medals in 50-meter rifle at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He died in September, aged 60.

Dov Ben-Dov - Israeli sports shooter who competed in the 300 m rifle, three positions event for Israel at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics-- the first time Israeli athletes competed in the modern games. He died in March, aged 93.

Sean Connery - Scottish actor and former Royal Navy vet who had over 100 screen credits, mostly in iconic action films of the 1960s and 70s. Connery was likely the best unofficial Walther PPK salesman in history and gave new life to the old "Mohaska" slang for a gun. Connery died in November, aged 90.

Manuel da Costa - Portuguese sports shooter who competed in the 50-meter rifle, prone event at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. He died in April, aged 93.

Clive Cussler - Noted underwater explorer, Air Force Veteran, and author, Cussler was a manufacturer of heroes who appeared in dozens of high-octane adventure novels well-punctuated by iconic firearms. He died in February, aged 88.

Charlie Daniels - Famed American singer-songwriter and frequently outspoken Second Amendment advocate, Daniels frequently attended and performed at the NRA member association’s annual meetings and appeared in spots for the group, speaking out on American ideals in his own way. He died in July, aged 83.

Frank Desomma - Founder of Patriot Ordnance Factory. His experience as an aerospace engineer before starting POF-USA in 2002, set him up for success. With his wife Tracy, and son Cody's support, he went on to produce some of the industry’s highest quality, most innovative firearms. He died in June, aged 57.

Barry Downs - Australian sports shooter who competed in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event in the 1968 Olympics. He died in April, aged 89.

Carl Eiríksson - Icelandic sports shooter who competed in the men's 50-meter rifle prone event at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics while in his 60s. He died in June, aged 90.

Kevin Gill - British trap shooter who won the gold in the 1990 Commonwealth Games and represented his country in the 1992 and the 1996 Summer Olympics. He died in April, aged 58.

Sergei Ivanov - Scriptwriter for Ukrainian-developed survival/horror FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, one of the best of its kind. The game highlighted any number of rare Soviet-era guns, introducing many of them to consumers in the West for the first time. He died in December, aged 66

Anthony James - American actor who appeared in dozens of Westerns and action films across a 30-year career, including High Plains Drifter and The Unforgiven, often carrying an interesting array of firearms to include "silenced" revolvers. He died in May, aged 77.

François Lafortune Jr. - Belgian physician who took his rifle hobby to the Olympics-- seven times-- participating in all of the games between 1952 to 1976. He bested his father's five-time and his uncle's four-time appearances at the games in the same discipline going back to 1924, a family tradition. He died in April, aged 87.

Irina Laricheva - Soviet/Russian trap shooter who secured at least six World Championship gold medals between 1990 and 2006. She died in January, aged 55.

George Mikell - Lithuanian-Australian actor and writer often seen in stereotypical bad guy roles, almost always wielding Lugers, in several classic war films including The Guns of Navarone and The Great Escape. He died in May, aged 91.

Hiroyuki Nakajo - Japanese sports shooter who competed in the men's 50-meter rifle, prone event at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He died in February, aged 74.

Sakari Paasonen - Finnish sport shooter who competed in various pistol shooting events at the Summer Olympics in 1988 and 1992. He died in November, aged 85.

Ferenc Petrovácz - Hungarian sports shooter who competed in Free Rifle and Mixed Small-Bore rifle events at the 1968 Summer Olympics, as well as earning eight European and one World Championship gold medal. He died in August, aged 76.

Jeff Quinn - The host of Gunblast, he was a salt-of-the-earth kind of fella who loved God, family, guns, and his beloved cattle among many other things. When Quinn decided to pursue gun reviews and writing in 1999 as a hobby, few expected him to revolutionize the firearms industry. But that's precisely what he did with Gunblast. He died in July, aged 61.

Diana Rigg - Long before there was a Peggy Carter, Nikita Taylor, or Carrie Mathison, British actress Diana Rigg's Emma Peel had what it took to (stylishly) carry a Beretta Jetfire, Walther P-38, MP40, Colt Peacemaker, and everything in between. She died in September, aged 82. 

Bill Spencer - A U.S. Biathlon legend, Spencer joined the Utah National Guard after high school and went on to become a 1959 All America skier at the University of Utah. He was a two-time Olympic athlete at the 1964 Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria and the 1968 Games in Grenoble, France and five-time coach. He died in December, aged 84.

Vesa Törnroos - Finnish sports shooter who competed in the men's trap event at the 2016 Summer Olympics. He died in April, aged 37, of cancer. 

Bobana Veličković - Serbian sport pistol shooter who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. She died in June, aged 30, in childbirth. 

Herbert Voelcker - A native of Tonawanda, New York, he was captain of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's rifle team in the 1950s before spending two years in the 82nd Airborne Division. While on the U.S. Army Rifle team, he competed in the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics before continuing in a long career as a professor of electrical engineering. He died in January, aged 90.

Walter E. Williams - A Philadelphia native who served in the U.S. Army and later became friends with social theorist Thomas Sowell while in college, Williams became a renowned professor of economics and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. He did extensive research into what the framers of the Constitution felt on the matter of the right to keep and bear arms, sharing his views widely. He died in December, aged 84.

Ian Yule - British stuntman, actor and technical advisor who often appeared as a grizzled British sergeant in films such as The Wild Geese and Zulu Dawn, among others. He came across the motivation easily, being a former mercenary in the Congo after service in the British Army. Yule died in December, aged 87.
Glen Zediker - Longtime Shooting Sports USA writer and author of many books (The Competitive AR15; The Mouse That Roared, et. al) mostly focusing on the High-Power Rifle discipline. He died in October, aged 61.

Company passings


Full Conceal - Appearing on the market a couple years ago with an innovative folding Glock design, the Nevada-based company hasn't updated its social media accounts since February and has a dead website, leaving few surprised by news of federal Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings.

Remington - Speaking of bankruptcy in a time of record gun sales and an expanding customer base, the giant Remington Outdoor Company, which included not only Remington firearms and ammunition but also Marlin, Barnes Bullets, Advanced Armament Corp., and Dakota Arms, was broken apart in September. While many of its brands went elsewhere-- including Remington's ammo line to Federal and Marlin Firearms to Ruger-- Remington's flagship factory in Ilion, New York has been sidelined since October with its workers laid-off. Perhaps 2021 will see a rebirth.

Sig Sauer, Germany - Reports in June held that Eckernförde, Germany-based Sig Sauer, GmbH was set to close by the end of the year due to a mixture of reasons, leaving the stand-alone U.S.-based Sig Sauer to carry the torch. Swiss-based Sig Sauer AG, formerly known as Swiss Arms, is, like the American Sig Sauer, a separate company from the German operation. The German firm states currently on its website, "The sale of Sig Sauer products from Switzerland and the USA will continue to be ensured, as will the maintenance and repair of the Sig Sauer weapons on the market." 

Ben Philippi contributed to this piece. 

Banner photo: Chris Eger/

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