Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Zumbo Strikes Back

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll remember Jim Zumbo’s blog entry where he referred to the mislabeled “assault weapons” as “terrorist rifles.” That entry ticked off quite a large portion of the firearm owning community, and ultimately led to Jim losing sponsorships and his job at Outdoor Life.

Even though Jim Zumbo posted retractions and apologies both on Outdoor Life’s site and Ted Nugent’s forum, as expected it didn’t take long for the anti-Bill of Rights crowd to start quoting Jim’s blog and painting him as a martyr standing up against the unwashed hordes of people who think it’s acceptable to own a semi-automatic firearm with a detachable magazine. Senator Carl Levin raised Jim’s blog during his regularly scheduled tirade against the evils of firearms stating:

“Jim has been an NRA member for 40 years, and, according to his Web site, has appeared with NRA officials in 70 cities across the country. This relationship changed drastically when Jim expressed his commonsense opinion on assault weapons.”

And:

“The reaction from NRA officials was swift and callous. They immediately severed all ties with Mr. Zumbo . His TV program on the Outdoor Channel was canceled, and his longtime career with Outdoor Life magazine ended. In addition, many of his corporate ties to the biggest names in gun making, such as Remington Arms Co., were terminated.”

And:

“We all owe Jim Zumbo a debt of gratitude for his forthrightness, his honesty and his courage. We must put the safety of our communities first by taking up and passing sensible gun legislation that includes renewing the assault weapons ban.”

Apparently Senator Levin didn’t get the memo that the NRA was silent on this issue until the following week, and that the Remington and other contracts were terminated by the companies in question before the NRA uttered syllable one. It also appears that Senator Levin didn’t get the memo that Jim Zumbo admitted that he screwed up big time and retracted the column.

After hearing of Levin’s tirade, Jim Zumbo did not remain silent. To his credit he wrote a scathing rebuttal of Levin in an open letter to the Senate. The letter is well-written and unambiguous. Some high points:

“Some of us learn from our mistakes, others keep making them. Legislation to which Sen. Levin alluded, HR 1022, would renew the ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and dangerously expand it to encompass far more perfectly legal firearms. For the Congress of the United States to even consider such legislation is an affront to every law-abiding firearms owner in this country.

“This legislation that Sen. Levin appears to endorse is written so broadly as outlaw not only firearms, but accessories, including a folding stock for a Ruger rifle. As I understand the language of this bill, it could ultimately take away my timeworn and cherished hunting rifles and shotguns – firearms I hope to one day pass on to my grandchildren – as well as millions of identical and similar firearms owned by other American citizens.

“It is clear to me that the supporters of this legislation don’t want to stop criminals. They want to invent new ones out of people like me, and many of you, and your constituents, friends, neighbors and members of your families. They will do anything they can, go to any extremes they believe necessary, to make it impossible for more and more American citizens to legally own any firearm.

“I will not allow my name to be associated with this kind of attack on the Second Amendment rights of my fellow citizens.”


Finally Jim Zumbo seems to get it. Unfortunately I think he is now all too acutely aware of the power of speech, and the law of unintended consequences. I think all freedom loving individuals everywhere need to bear this example in mind and take a moment to think before speaking or putting pen to paper (or pixel to monitor in this particular case).

Until Next time!

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