Ten years ago in the middle of filming the wildly popular series, Criminal Minds, Joe says he received an email inquiry from some folks who had recognized his interest in firearms and shooting sports. In that email, he was asked if he would consider hosting a show called, Gun Stories, on Outdoor Channel. Now ready to film the 11th season of the show, Joe says it has been a great ride to be a part of a show that is not only educational but interesting and fun and has something for everyone. The show takes viewers through a firearm's history, from the heart of the design through its use on the range. Gun Stories looks at the operation and performance of each weapon and features historians, shooters, trainers and industry experts to place these weapons in their historical and social context making Gun Stories a unique and definitive collection on the history of firearms. The Colt 1911 is a gun that has earned its place in history and continues to have a faithful following of owners. Joe says he thinks it's the world's greatest handgun, noting that he selected it as his weapon of choice on the show, Criminal Minds. After initially joining the cast of the show, Joe says he looked around to see what others were carrying which was mostly modern semi-autos. However, he wanted something that embodied his character as a Vietnam vet and so he chose the Colt 1911. Joe talks about the different configurations he has carried and the special Sig Sauer and Cabot Gun Company custom 1911's he has used for the show. He says it's great to be able to carry guns on the show that he has a connection with, and firearms that tell a story.
So much of what makes the series, Gun Stories, great is the extensive history and education into each firearm featured. Education in the realm of firearms and the 2nd amendment is crucial. The topic of firearms in the public square is often politically charged with rhetoric from every political angle. Joe says he is not a political person and doesn't embrace one party over another for just one issue, such as firearms. Instead, he believes that the 2nd amendment shouldn't be viewed through a political lens at all, as it is an amendment meant for the benefit of everyone. He encourages people to educate themselves not just on guns and gun safety, but to go back to the basics and learn more about civics, American history, the Constitution, and the 2nd amendment. Talking about history and the founding fathers, Joe says it's hard to think of anyone since those early times who is as smart as those who wrote documents like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. What an education it would be to bring Thomas Jefferson back to life, Joe says, so that he could explain to people what these documents are all about, what the amendments are about, and why the 2nd amendment is so important. It's not about being on one side of an issue or another, it's about educating yourself completely before making judgements, he says, and that's certainly true of the 2nd amendment.
Finally, Joe talks about what he has in the works right now for on screen appearances. Viewers can expect to see him in a new Amazon show that deals with young adults on the autism spectrum. Joe says this show is particularly close to him as he has a daughter on the autism spectrum. It's funny, touching, emotional, raw and dramatic and with COVID restrictions being lifted, Joe says he can't wait to get back to production for this show. There is also some speculation surrounding the possible reboot of Criminal Minds. Will Joe Mantegna's character, "David Rossi", be back soon? Joe says it's still too early to know for sure, but says there is a fair chance. As one of the most streamed shows worldwide right now, certainly it would suggest that viewers are hungry for more.