17 replies [Last post]
Location: N. IL
Joined: 02/20/2007
Posts: 1
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

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.

Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

Well put! Thumbs up I, for one, feel the antis will not be happy until every last firearm is destroyed. The bashing has been allowed to continue virtually unchecked for so long that the antis have the upperhand and they are voting the politicians in that push their views into laws. Hunters/ sportshooters/ gun collectors have to start putting their differences aside and make sure they are voting the right government officials in. Zumbo, as much as anybody, should have known that his words would get into the hands of the antis and be used. They twist the best of posts around to fit their needs. (Example... semi auto=assualt rifle, bolt action=sniper rifle, shotgun=close combat rifle) They won't give up so we better not either.

Location: Montgomery AL
Joined: 07/10/2006
Posts: 22
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

I think Mr Zumbo's opinion is/was his honest opinion and is shared by many who have never been exposed to so called "assault weapons". This may be partly due to his age. I've heard it from many people I know , some in my own family , who have hunted for years. They have been scared by television news and movies that routinely show 20 to 100 people die by these rifles in a single movie. Rent one today and try to actually count how many people are killed, including cops, during the movie. Kids today are becoming desensitized by death by guns hence the high firearm death rate among the young. I think Zumbo is fast learning to not bite the hand that feeds you no matter what your opinion is. I personally do not own or have I ever shot an AR and don't have too much interest in doing so. If one were provided I'd shoot it and may love it but I'm not actively seeking one to try. But I'd fight any man who'd try to take this privilege away from any one who chooses to use one. I will always remember the old saying " Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than all my rifles".

cowgal's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

Lots of good posts here. Its really unfortunate that Jim did not think about what he wrote on his blog before posting online. Even with the apology, its impossible to retract and fix the damage it caused.

I have to agree with GarandFan that the terminology that is applied to various firearms, can make them much less acceptable to the general public. "Assault weapon" sure can sound scary to someone that does not understand firearms.

By the way GarandFan, welcome to BGH! Great post! Thumbs up

Also have to agree with Makwa, Jim most likely underestimated the power of the internet. Nowadays anything posted on the web can literally move at the speed of light! And bad news, unfortunately moves even faster. With Jim's status (now previous status!) in the hunting world, he really needed to be more careful with his words. One of us could have posted the exact same thing and it wouldn't have mattered, but coming from such a visible individual in the hunting world, makes it so much more dramatic.

For the record I enjoy shooting ARs, they're fun, lightweight and accurate. And I do not agree with people who assume that anybody shooting a semi-auto has a "spray & pray" mentality.

So do you think Jim will be able to recover from this? Do you think any sponsor will ever touch him again? Or is he finished?

Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 361
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

Damage is done, I think he's done too. He's lost to many peoples respect.

Joined: 03/16/2007
Posts: 33
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

I'd like to see Zumbo become an evangelist for the assault weapon crowd, but I don't really see it happening. I don't care if a spokesman believes what he is saying as long as the audience believes him. We need all the good press we can get and he's a popular personality.

When I first started collecting military guns my hunter friends looked at me like I'd cracked. But once they tried them they changed their tune and wanted to swap guns with me on a recent hunt. Military guns and their owners often have a bad reputation but I know several who can hit a pie plate at 400 yds with iron sights. That Wolf ammo is cheap but shoots as well as some commercial ammo.

CVC's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Kansas
Joined: 03/04/2006
Posts: 3579
Jim Zumbo's Faux Pas

Just saw Zumbo on Spirit of the Wild with Ted Nugent.

Nugent made him shoot a pink zebra print AR15.

Zumbo apologized and Nugent forgave him. Zumbo said he saw the errors of his way and his words and now is absolutely committed to protecting the second amendment.

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