I hope all the best for Jim Zumbo in the future. I hope that he understands why his blog post caused such a blogstorm and that he learns from it. I hope he goes hunting with Ted Nugent and understands that an AR-15 is a valid gun in certain hunting applications. Maybe he could even regain our trust. But, that doesn’t mean I agree one whit with what he said, beyond the note that he has the right to say whatever he wants to.
Let’s revisit Zumbo’s post for just a moment. He said of AR-15s and AK-type guns, "I call them ‘assault’ rifles…" and "I'll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles" and "As hunters, we don't need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons." He then called for a ban on them in the hunting fields.
You can’t get much clearer than that, but the very first comment on his post said it even better. "If you don't care who you intimidate by the look of your firearm (or you secretly enjoy looking like Rambo), you are not caring enough about the public perception of our endangered sport."
Zumbo and this commenter see no place for black rifles in their sport. To me that’s much more harmful than having him call black rifles terrorist weapons. Most gunnies don’t like "sporting use" as a test for guns. That is, a gun is only appropriate for people to own if it can be used in a valid "sport" such as hunting. But, the concept is enshrined in laws and even in the anti-gunnies' promise, "We don’t want to take away your hunting guns."
Black rifles are gaining a place in the hunting fields as many other bloggers and comment writers have pointed out. They are excellent platforms for prairie dog and coyote hunting and can be good deer rifles depending on caliber. In other words, they have a sporting use beyond target uses. I've never heard anti-gunnies say they don't want to take away our target, plinking, or whatever guns.
When a noted gun owner and hunter like Zumbo publically says that black rifles have no place in the hunting fields, it's tantamount to saying they have no use in any arena. It goes to the heart of the "sporting use" issue and gives anti-gunnies one more string to tug on in hopes of unraveling our gun rights.
Still something very good may come of all the pixels that have been spilled about Zumbo. Michael Bane makes some very good points about where the firearm market and community are going now. Be sure to give it a read if you haven’t already.