There is yet another name to be added to the list of civilian disarmament advocates who hope to exploit the ill-considered words of Jim Zumbo as a club with which to bludgeon private gun ownership in America. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) has, since May of 1999, spoken at least once every week that the Senate was in session about what he perceives as a need to ignore the part of the Bill of Rights that most offends him. Would anyone like to venture a guess as to which part that would be?
Yesterday, Levin quoted Zumbo's infamous blog. Like the rest of those who would have law-abiding Americans disarmed, Levin was, of course, thrilled to have gained what he would like to call a new ally in the jihad against homeland defense firearms. For this "support" to come from someone who had (at least until recently) commanded great recognition and respect within the hunting and shooting communities was even better.
Levin could not fail to acknowledge that Zumbo's public thrashing of many of his fellow shooters sparked a strong reaction. Like just about every other aspiring Second Amendment rights violator, Levin mischaracterized the massive grassroots groundswell of righteous indignation as a vicious, calculated campaign, orchestrated by the NRA.
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.Never mind that the NRA's reaction was anything but "swift"--the NRA remained silent through the first several days of outrage from gun owners all over the country, and only severed ties with Zumbo when it became clear that the situation was not about to just "go away." Simple economics drove the reaction from Zumbo's other sponsors--thousands of emails and phone calls threatening boycotts tend to be noticed.
What Senator Levin was very careful not to quote was Zumbo's later acknowledgement that he was utterly wrong to demonize these firearms, and his complete retraction of statements critical of them. Levin then continues his convenient glossing over of Zumbo's reversal.
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."Keep in mind that Zumbo never argued to ban the possession of so-called "assault weapons." He advocated that their use no longer be permitted for hunting:
I say game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods."Game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods"--not the national or state legislatures should ban them from homes, business,or vehicles, or even from our churches, city parks, or playgrounds.
Zumbo made the grave mistake (which I believe he now hopes to correct) of doing our enemies' work for us, in dividing gun owners into warring camps. He did this out of the belief that possession of "sporting firearms" would be less threatened if it was not tied to possession of "scary" ones. This is clearly false--as soon as the "assault weapons" are gone, his scoped hunting rifles will become "sniper rifles" in the sensationalist jargon of the civilian disarmament crowd.
The other side will use overheated rhetoric and outright lies to further their agenda. Such tactics can be frighteningly effective. To stand against them, all shooters must stand together.