Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Perils of Shooting Your Mouth Off

Jim Zumbo
c/o Outdoor Life

Dear Jim:

I've met you at sportsmen's shows and at the SHOT Show. I've read your work for a couple of decades now. I'm really pretty disappointed in you, because I don't think you get why people are so upset.

I've hunted for almost 40 years, and owned guns for the same amount of time. I've been in the military. I've shot competitively. And, I've owned a gun shop and shooting range.

People could care less if you do, or don't, hunt with an AR-15, or Mini-14, or AK-47, or SKS, or whatever. That's your business. When you start denigrating people over their choice of hunting firearms, then it becomes a problem. When you call them "terrorists" and call for banning their weapon of choice, then it really becomes a problem. And, in today's political climate, where those who work to ban all firearms look for any and every opportunity to divide the gun owner community on the basis of cosmetics so they can gradually ban all guns by banning this type and then that type, you just handed anti-gunners some potent information. "Why not ban AR-15s from hunting?" they'll say. "After all, noted hunting authority Jim Zumbo says that they are unsporting and don't belong in the woods!"

Jim, the problem isn't that you didn't realize people hunt with AR-15s. It's that both your original post and your apology demonstrate you truly do not believe in the right to keep and bear arms, and that it extends to beyond what type of firearms may be suitable for a week-long elk hunt in the Rockies.

So, going on a hunt with Ted Nugent and using AR-15s isn't going to fix the problem. How about writing an article on how people who don't hunt also have a right to own firearms, including AR-15s, and maybe then following up with another article specifically for non-hunters who own semiautomatic rifles derived from military weapons, directed at how to get them to start hunting with those weapons. After all, we need more hunters!

Hunting as an activity is decreasing in popularity. I'd venture to say that, unlike when I was a boy, the majority of gun owners are not hunters. If you, as a recognized authority on hunting (certainly not guns), dismiss these people for their taste in firearms, then in a few years don't be surprised when hunting as a legitimate sporting activity is ended. After all, we don't need to hunt to feed ourselves, and we can farm elk and deer if we like the taste of venison. It's just a cruel blood sport, isn't it, and no one needs to kill a poor cute defenseless prairie dog or a clever and handsome coyote.

Gun owners and Americans in general are pretty forgiving, if they think you're sincere and if they see that you've changed. But the burden is on you, and not on them. If your apology really is sincere and you really don't think these guns should be banned from hunting, then you need to start writing... and soon.


John Clifford

ht: Instapundit

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