Hello fellow hunters:
First post here. I grew up hunting deer with shotgun slugs, but have taken them with bow and arrow, handguns, bolt-action rifles, and semi-auto rifles including M1 Garand and AR-15 (in Texas, were any centerfire was allowed).
My apologies for the length of this letter...but here is what I wrote in response to Mr. Zumbo's article on semi-auto rifles.
19 February 2007
Dear Fellow Hunters:
Mr. Jim Zumbo, the foremost authority on North American big game hunting, is the Hunting Editor for the popular outdoor sports magazine Outdoor Life. During his 40+ year career, Mr. Zumbo has published more than 1,500 articles in all the major outdoor magazines, and has authored 23 books. He enjoys the corporate sponsorship of Remington Arms, Swarovski optics, Gerber knives, Mossy Oak, Cabela's, Safari Club International, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, among others. Suffice it to say that Mr. Zumbo has an immense readership and is widely known and well respected among hunting, sportsmen, and outdoor enthusiasts.
But just last week, Mr. Zumbo penned a poorly considered and hugely unpopular opinion, and posted the article on his Outdoor Life internet blog. In this article, Mr. Zumbo stated that so-called “assault weapons” were in reality “terrorist weapons”, that they were of no use to sportsmen and hunters, and that "We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern." He advised his readership to distance themselves from their fellow Americans who own and use these semi-automatic firearms. Of course, we all know that these weapons are in fact just semiauto rifles, and currently are the intense focus of state and federal gun ban legislation. They were given the name "assault weapons" by gun-ban organizations such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly known as Handgun Control Inc.), in order to sway public opinion against them. Think about it. "Assault Weapon" is now a household term. I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't be against banning "Assault Weapons"? But what if they had more appropriately been named "Homeland Defense Weapons"? Would people then be so quick to banish them?
The firestorm of reaction to his article was, to say the least, of astounding magnitude. Outdoor Life’s blog page was literally choked with responses, attesting to the popularity of these rifles for hunting, varminting, target shooting, and self-defense. Internet sites devoted to hunting, outdoor sports, target shooting, and firearms are buzzing with disparaging talk of his article. American gun owners felt that Mr. Zumbo had stabbed them in the back. The readership’s reaction was so strong and swift that Jim retracted his statements and published an apology. One of his main sponsors, Remington Arms Co., severed their sponsorship ties to Jim. Moreover, Outdoor Life magazine was forced to close his blob, and make this statement:
“Outdoor Life has always been, and will always be, a steadfast supporter of our Second Amendment rights, which do not make distinctions based on the looks of the firearms we choose to own, shoot and take hunting.”
Almost immediately after Mr. Zumbo posted his article, the Brady Campaign posted it on their site, including this introductory text:
“Even Remington's top gun writer agrees on Assault Weapons. With important writers such as this on our side, it is clear that we have a cultural imperative to remove dangerous terrorist rifles from our streets, and our woods. Jim Zumbo is a writer for the prestigious Outdoor Life magazine and represents the views of America's true sportsmen. He is also sponsored by Remington.”
My point is this – our Second Amendment rights are under attack like never before. Hunters mistakenly think that their shotguns and rifles are safe from gun control legislation and outright bans. Mr. Zumbo might have thought that hunters would best protect their 2nd Amendment rights by distancing themselves from the semi-auto firearm crowd. Little did he know that semiauto rifles have become immensely popular among hunters, competition shooters, plinkers, and collectors. Mr. Zumbo knows better, now, and after that hard lesson realizes what you and I already know. It is time for all gun owners to come together on the same page, galvanized toward a common purpose. Together, we must protect our 2nd amendment rights. I am not trying to alarm you; I am telling you the truth, and this issue is one of grave seriousness. Here is why.
The Brady Campaign isn’t going to stop at semiauto rifles. They are also targeting bolt-action rifles, and are using the exact same tactic as they did in misnaming "assault weapons": they are re-naming our hunting guns "Sniper Rifles." But you might think that "Sniper Rifles" and hunting guns are different, right? From their web site (excerpted):
"The tragic proliferation of Sniper Rifles: Sniper Rifles are typically equipped with a high-powered scope, and every single one of them can blow through the body armor cops wear. Does the Second Amendment protect cop-killer Sniper Rifles? The NRA certainly thinks so, along with the powerful gun lobby that wants your children and your law enforcement officers to be at risk from these weapons of mass destruction. Senator Ted Kennedy attempted to solve this with a bill that would have banned armor piercing ammunition [Author's Note: any centerfire hunting cartridge will defeat certain body armor] and protected lawful firearm commerce. Said Kennedy: 'Another rifle caliber, the .30-'30, was responsible for penetrating three officers' armor and killing them in 1993, 1996, and 2002. This ammunition is also capable of puncturing light-armored vehicles, ballistic or armored glass, armored limousines....It is outrageous and unconscionable that such ammunition continues to be sold in the United States of America.' Sniper Rifles can be equipped with precision optics…allowing a sniper to deliver rounds within millimeters of accuracy - enabling them to engage targets at distances of well over one hundred meters. Is there a pressing need to be able to kill with accuracy at that distance? It is too far to justify as self defense. It is too far for hunting."
Yes, read it again! Kennedy is talking about .30-'30 ammunition, the kind used in some of the most popular deer hunting rifles of all time, the Winchester and Marlin lever-actions! Grandpa's old .30-'30 is now being referred to as a "Sniper Rifle", a tool of terrorists. Other choice phrases from the Brady Campaign piece on "Sniper Rifles" (i.e. our scoped, bolt-action hunting rifles):
"Sniper Rifles have been used by murderers and spree killers for years"
"only useful for those who wish to murder from afar"
"have no place in the hunting fields of America and hunting usage should not be used as an argument for civilians to own such firearms and weapons"
"restrict the deadly spread of long distance murder rifles"
My friends and fellow hunters, do not believe for a minute that certain, highly influential people will stop at banning semi-auto rifles. The Brady Campaign article refers to scoped deer rifles that are able to kill from more than 100 yards…incidentally the very same range at which most whitetail hunters zero their rifles…and claim that 100 yards is "too far for hunting." Please, do not be fooled when Michael Moore says in his "Liberal's Pledge" - "We will not take away your hunting guns." They do want to take away our hunting rifles and ammunition, as well as semiautomatic firearms. They will employ tactics to sway public opinion and they will vilify hunters and their hunting rifles. And they will convince state and federal legislators to ban them if we do not oppose them now, together.
As a supporter of hunting and presumably the 2nd Amendment as well, are you going to stand by and allow legislators to ban semi-autos, when you know full well our hunting firearms are next? It is time to come together on common ground to oppose the intensifying assaults on our right to keep and bear arms, and along with it, our right to hunt with them.