Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ignorance Leads To Bigotry

The entire Zumbo affair can be summed up in one word, ignorance. As we know, ignorance often leads to bigotry. As the panoply of outdoor writers gird their loins and march forth to defend Zumbo, we are seeing a lot of ignorance on display. Here are some highlights:

1.) The fascist NRA destroyed poor Zumbo.

Bullshit. The NRA had nothing whatsoever to do with the Internet based grassroots opposition to Zumbo’s comments. In fact, the NRA only reacted when Zumbo has already lost his sponsors, his TV show was suspended and the dust was already on the ground.

2.) Nobody should hunt with those "assault rifles", "assault weapon" things.

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions out there in the hunting world about "black rifles".
They are not assault rifles. An assault rifle is a fully automatic weapon that is heavily regulated. New ones are not for sale to civilians. No one is seriously arguing that these should be used for hunting. An AR-15 is not an assault rifle.

An assault weapon is an arbitrary construct by Congress in which certain features were considered to be "bad". The defunct assault weapons ban only allowed two of these scary features and also banned certain firearms deemed too scary. All of these firearms were functionally the same as any other semi-automatic firearm ie.) one pull of the trigger for each round fired.

I’ve seen a lot of comments about black rifles being underpowered for hunting. I would agree that in most cases, the .223 round is underpowered for deer hunting, but AR rifles are a system that allows for multiple calibers. An easy change of the upper assembly and you can have a rifle in many different calibers that are suitable for larger game.

Therefore, these firearms are perfectly suitable for hunting and have a lot to recommend them due to their light weight and ease of conversion between various calibers.

3.) Those rabid gun rights extremists were too hard on poor Zumbo.

As far as I’m concerned, Zumbo has paid enough. He has made a reasonable apology and I think he is trying to make amends. I think that as he learns more about black rifles, and his ignorance fades away, his bigotry will fade as well.

But, I do not think that gun rights activists overreacted. Calling black rifles, terrorist rifles is a slap in the face to the many thousands of law abiding gun owners who use these firearms in competition, target practice and yes, for hunting. We are not terrorists and it angers us and hurts us when someone who is supposed to be on our side displays his ignorance and bigotry.

4.) Those gun rights extremists are paranoid about the government taking their guns.

I saw this in several comments to editorials by outdoors writers. People who really believe this and who are actually gun owners and not bearers of false flags must be some new mutation of man and ostrich. I am only in my early 40’s, but I distinctly remember the time in my youth when guns were a part of this country’s culture. Since then, I have seen bans, background checks, and in states like Massachusetts, registration and bans of entire classes of guns.
Gun owners are treated worse than sex offenders in Massachusetts and have to register every firearms purchase with the Criminal History Systems Board. When they move, Massachusetts’s gun owners have to inform this Board and their new and previous police chiefs. If we are paranoid, IT IS FOR GOOD REASON.

5.) Zumbo’s First Amendment rights have been infringed.

I’ve seen this comment in several places and it saddens me that so many are ignorant of the Constitution. All the First Amendment does is limit the government from infringing on our liberty to speak freely. No government agency got Zumbo fired, the government was not involved AT ALL. Private individuals reacting to Zumbo’s speech by pushing for boycotts is not limiting Zumbo’s free speech. You may speak freely, but if you decide to call me a terrorist, don’t be surprised if there are repercussions.

In conclusion, I bear no ill will towards Jim Zumbo. I wish him future success and I hope he learns about the "black rifle" community and that he gets his sponsors and television show back. Hunters, target shooters, tactical tommies and all of the shooting community need to work together. The gun banners want to ban all of our guns, including your hunting rifle. They will just demonize it as a sniper rifle, run it through the media and then Turn it in Mr. & Mrs. America. Remember, we must hang together, or we will most surely hang separately.

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