March 6th, 2007 12:26 AM
Letter from Jim Zumbo to Alan Gottlieb
February 28, 2007
Mr. Alan Gottlieb, Chairman
Citizens Committee for the
Right to Keep and Bear Arms
12500 N.E. Tenth Place
Bellevue, WA 98005
They say that hindsight is always 20-20. In my case, hindsight has been a hard teacher, like the father teaching the son a lesson about life in the wood shed.
I was wrong when I recently suggested that wildlife agencies should ban semiautomatic firearms I erroneously called “assault rifles” for hunting. I insulted legions of my fellow gun owners in the process by calling them “terrorist rifles.” I can never apologize enough for having worn blinders when I should have been wearing bifocals.
But unlike those who would destroy the Second Amendment right to own a firearm – any firearm – I have learned from my embarrassing mistake. My error should not be used, as it has been in recent days by our common enemies, in an effort to dangerously erode our right to keep and bear arms.
I would hope instead to use this spotlight to address my hunting fraternity, many of whom shared my erroneous position. I am a hunter and like many others I had the wrong picture in mind. I associated these firearms with military action, and saw not hunting as I have known it, not the killing of a varmint, but the elimination of the entire colony. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I know from whence it comes. This ridiculous image, formed in the blink of an eye, exerts and unconscious effect on all decisions that follow. In seeking to protect our hunting rights by guarding how we are seen in the public eye, I lost sight of the larger picture; missed the forest for the trees.
My own lack of experience was no excuse for ignoring the fact that millions of Americans – people who would share a campfire or the shelter of their tent, and who have hurt nobody – own, hunt with and competitively shoot or collect the kinds of firearms I so easily dismissed.
I recently took a “crash course” on these firearms with Ted Nugent, to learn more about them and to educate myself. In the process, I learned about the very real threat that faces all American gun owners.
I’ve studied up on legislation now in Congress that would renew and dangerously expand a ban on many types of firearms. The bill, HR 1022 sponsored by New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, is written so broadly that it would outlaw numerous firearms and accessories, including a folding stock for a Ruger rifle. I understand that some of the language could ultimately take away my timeworn and cherished hunting rifles and shotguns as well as those of all American hunters.
The extremist supporters of HR 1022 don’t want to stop criminals. They want to invent new ones out of people like you and me with the simple stroke of a pen. They will do anything they can to make it impossible for more and more American citizens to legally own any firearm.
Realizing that what I wrote catered to this insidious attack on fellow gun owners has, one might say, “awakened a sleeping giant within me, and filled him with a terrible resolve.”
I made a mistake. But those who would use my remarks to further their despicable political agenda have made a bigger one. I hope to become their worst nightmare. I admit I was wrong. They insist they are right.
Enclosed, you will find a check that is intended to be used to fight and defeat HR 1022. I also hope it inspires other gun owners to “do as I do, not as I say.”
I’m putting my money where my mouth should have been, and where my heart and soul have always been. I know the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting and never has been. My blunder was in thinking that by working to protect precious hunting rights I was doing enough. I promise it will never happen again.
I don’t know what lies over the horizon for me. I am not ready for the rocking chair.
I’m going to devote every ounce of my energy to this battle. I will remind my fellow hunters that we are first, gun owners. Whether we like it or not, our former apathy and prejudices may place that which we love, hunting, in jeopardy. I will educate fellow outdoorsmen who mistakenly think like I talked, even if I have to visit every hunting camp and climb into every duck blind and deer stand in this country to get it done. I was wrong, and I’m going to make it right.
You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
March 6th, 2007 01:37 AM
It takes a very brave and honorable man to admit his mistakes and especially publically. We all can take a good look at this situation, we must remember that we should think before we speak. If we open mouth and insert foot and leg our enemies will take all advantage.
The more in the public eye we are the more we have to be carfull that our statements arn't used against us. Stay strong in the struggle.
March 6th, 2007 01:49 AM
That's actually a pretty good apology..
If he "walks the walk" and is able to bring some of the hunting enthusiasts over to the support the 2nd Amendment for everyone side, it will be a good thing...
We'll be watching...
"I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York
"They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper
March 6th, 2007 02:24 AM
Wow, that does sound like he means it.
"If we loose Freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the Last Place on Earth!" Ronald Reagan
March 6th, 2007 05:11 AM
March 6th, 2007 05:17 AM
Originally Posted by Team American
You know, reflecting on this scenario, I pause to thing. . .
This seems almost like it could have been engineered, you know? Like he deliberately stepped in s#!t in order to have a forum, a "soapbox," and the spotlight on him -- and then maximize the exposure to PUT THE MESSAGE ACROSS LOUD AND CLEAR WHILE EVERYONE'S WATCHING INTENTLY.
It seems like a stroke of genius. Or it could be as it is portrayed: a "mistake." I just find it hard to believe the guy could have been circulation among gun people and writing about shooting and hunting for years and never have come across the platitude (which is really a truth) that more hunters need to realize that they too are in the fight to keep our guns, and need to take part.
Is it really credible that right up til the criticism reached him, he really didn't know that "evil black rifles" were [/i]not[/i] evil?
We'll be watching...[/QUOTE] And then all of the sudden, when advocates of those rifles chastised him for being so ignorant, he suddenly, and without protest, was receptive to their correction, saw the error of his ways, and became a devoted missionary for the pro-gun side??
I think it's possible that he said the anti-"assault weapons" stuff deliberately, to open up this discourse.
March 6th, 2007 06:29 AM
Having opened my mouth only to change feet on more than one occasion, I can forgive. However, there is a huge gap between forgiveness and trust. Trust must be rebuilt. He's on the right path, let him walk the walk for a time.
'The assailant chooses the time, location and method of attack.
Since they are unlikely to let you know ahead of time when, where and how violent they're going to be, you should always be prepared.' - matiki
March 6th, 2007 07:34 AM
im gonna still hold out on the forgiveness card.
odds are, a publicist wrote that for him, or helped him with it.
we'll see how he's doing in a year or so...
March 6th, 2007 08:39 AM
...hopefully these are his words and he truely has had an epiphany...this was the apology he should have had coming out of the gate. At the very least, he had someone read his stuff for review before he sent it out...
March 6th, 2007 09:01 AM
It does seem like he means it. We will see if his actions speak louder than his words
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
March 6th, 2007 09:20 AM
Hopefully Jim, and the other "hunter rights" types get on board with the pro-RKBA types. Black rifles are no better or worse than other rifles. It is a tool for a job.
NRA, GOA, SAF, JFPO
كافر | ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ | WOLVERINES!
Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not After You.
March 6th, 2007 09:36 AM
It takes a big man to so publicly admit he was wrong. I too hope he keeps his word and his apparent vigor for defending all incarnations of the right to keep and bear arms. He certainly has taken a big step in the right direction, and I think we (meaning all gun owners, including the non-hunting variety like myself) should support him so long as he continues to put his money and his effort where "his mouth should have been," as he put it.
peacefuljeffrey - that thought occured to me too, that it could have been a skillfully engineered maneuver to grab the spotlight. But until there's more evidence that this is the case, I'll take the man at his word, and congratulate him for being able to keep his ego in his pocket and speak his mind.
But even if it was engineered as a way to fill in the gap between hunters, collectors, and home defense gun owners, I don't think it really matters. What matters is if it will work. If it helps promote a united front of all gun owners against further restrictions on one of our most important rights, I'm all for it.
March 6th, 2007 10:26 AM
How big was the check?
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone
The second amendment is the reset button of our Constitution.
March 6th, 2007 10:42 AM
That's the first piece by Zumbo that I've read since this thing started that made me like the man. Kudos to him for getting his head out of his rear (or for his brilliant PR maneuver).
...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller
March 6th, 2007 10:58 AM
I wonder how many people will actually see this apology versus the news media pouncing on the original statements. IMHO the liberal news media will totally ignore this letter, and use his original statements.
The real test will be to see if he can get this in front of the same number of people that heard about his original statements. NPR carried the original, but I bet they don't even mention this follow up.
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