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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jim Zumbo's Open Letter to Congress

PO Box 2390
Cody, WY 82414

March 28, 2007
An Open Letter to the
United States Senate

Dear Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen:

It recently came to my attention that one of your colleagues, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, has chosen to attack firearms owners using remarks I wrote in mid-February as his launch pad. As you probably know, Sen. Levin has been making anti-gun speeches every week for the past eight years because of a promise he made to the Economic Club of Detroit in May 1999.

Mr. Levin has an agenda, and he should have spoken to me before using my name in one of his speeches, especially since his remarks were entered into the Congressional Record. I would like my remarks here entered into the Congressional Record as well.

Sen. Levin is only one of 16 members of the Senate to vote against the Vitter Amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. This amendment prohibits the confiscation of a privately-owned firearm during an emergency or major disaster when possession of that gun is not prohibited under state or federal law.

Eighty-four senators voted for that amendment, inspired by the egregious confiscation of firearms from the citizens of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Those seizures, you will recall, led the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association to join in a landmark civil rights lawsuit in federal court that brought the confiscations to an abrupt end.

The taking of private property without warrant or probable cause – even firearms – was considered an outrage by millions of American citizens, and yet Sen. Levin joined 15 of his colleagues in voting against this measure. It is no small wonder that Sen. Levin gets an “F” rating from gun rights organizations. He would have American citizens disarmed and left defenseless at a time when they need their firearms the most, when social order collapses into anarchy and protecting one’s self and one’s family is not simply a right and responsibility, it becomes a necessity.

That in mind, Sen. Levin must know that almost immediately after I wrote those remarks, I recanted and apologized to the millions of Americans who lawfully and responsibly own, compete with and hunt with semi-automatic rifles. I took a “crash course” on these firearms and visited with my good friend Ted Nugent on his ranch in Texas, where I personally shot an AR-15 and educated myself with these firearms.

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.

In his final paragraph, Senator Levin misrepresents what I said. I never spoke in favor of a general assault weapons ban. Again, I immediately apologized for my blog statement that was exclusively directed toward hunting and not gun ownership.

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

A few weeks ago, in a letter to Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, I promised to educate my fellow hunters about this insidious legislation “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 will amend that to add that I will bring my effort to Capitol Hill if necessary, even if I have to knock on every door and camp in every office of the United States Senate. In promoting this ban, the Hon. Carl Levin does not speak for me, or anybody I know.

James Zumbo
Cody, Wyoming

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Gun Week Column HERE

Gun Week Exclusive
Zumbo ‘Proud’ of Gunowners, Vows to Lead Charge for Right
by Dave Workman
Senior Editor

“I’m an idiot. I’m ignorant. My words obviously have come back to destroy my career.”

Thus was the observation of outdoor legend Jim Zumbo, who told Gun Week in an exclusive interview that he harbors no ill feelings toward the legions of angry gunowners whose backlash has possibly cost him his livelihood, and perhaps his reputation.

“I did it to myself,” he said. “I have nobody to blame.”

But in a candid conversation from his home in Wyoming, Zumbo said that the most important lesson he learned—and that he hopes will translate into action in defense of the Second Amendment in this country—is that “When the gun community acts and decides to take on an issue, this is proof positive they can make it work. I am proud of them.”

Stunning words from a man whose 42-year career came to a crashing halt within days of his ill-advised remarks against AR-15 rifles on an Outdoor Life Internet blog. Zumbo said his assignment was to write three of those columns each week, and on Feb. 16 when he came back from a long, grueling coyote hunt and had a spirited discussion about semi-auto rifles with the guide, he sat down and wondered, “What can I write for these guys? What the hell is controversial?”

He found out the hard way.

“They got me,” he said. “I used the word ‘ban’ which I should never have used, and I used the word ‘terrorist’ which I should never have used.”

He has publicly apologized on Ted Nugent’s Internet forum, and he offered the same apology to Gun Week and its readers. The experience has humbled him.

But the disaster to his career has not made Zumbo want to run and hide, though many of his critics say he should. Instead, Zumbo is going to use this experience to become what he hopes will be the worst nightmare that gun-grabbing politicians and gun control activists could imagine.

“I want to join the fight, do whatever it takes,” he said in earnest. “Let’s educate the other dumb people like me who didn’t know about AR-15s. I will lead that charge.

“I’m stupid,” he added, admitting that he has never had what some people might call a “fascination” with firearms. “From my ignorance, let’s enlighten everyone else.”

Zumbo said he could have retired a year ago, and he could do likewise today, but in his heart, he feels a responsibility to square himself, and use his energies to unite the hunting and shooting fraternities, which do not always see eye-to-eye, even in this controversy.

“I want to come out of this and make our gun and hunting community a better place, a more understanding place,” he said. “Within our community, some hunters don’t understand shooters, and some shooters don’t understand hunters…I have got to fix this.”

This article is provided free by GunWeek.com.
For more great gun news, subscribe to our print edition.

What I have learned

Well, as many of you may know I was a speaker at a public informational hearing on gun violence. I had a good experience, despite some stubbles in the speech and being cut off due to what was called a time constraint to get Public responses. Much of what was discussed did not even focus on guns. The Community resources and 501c orgs, mostly discussed money and the need to fund programs to keep kids active and off the street. This was a good thing to discover, They want the tools but funds are not there. I am now beginning to make contacts to help implement a NASP or NASP like program into the community resources that are available for our inner city kids.

Since I was under the impression this meeting was going to deal with guns, I prepared based on guns. Out of curiosity and feeling a need to bullet proof my arguments, I pulled up a copy of the Constitution of Pennsylvania. To my pro gun, pleasent suprise The Commonweath Constitution spells out very clearly, in my opinion, what my rights concerning arms are. Article I was a fascinating read and I realized that arguing the 2nd amendment without including these provisions in the Commonwealth Constitution, was doing a disservice to the 2nd Amendment.

I would like to encourage all our readers to familiarize themselves with their State Constitutions and their provisions for arms, life and liberty. I will wager that far too many are unaware of what their State Constitutions secure to the individual. This is a shortcoming that the antis will exploit to no end.

Educate yourself to formulate the best counter to the antis possible, using rights secured by both Federal and State Constitutions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

NASP getting press around the country

Sorry this is so long but there are 2 GREAT articles on NASP that need a thank you and a shout out.

Article Here

Local archers take aim and fire at state tourney
By Nathan Blackford - Warrick Publishing Online

Archers from Boonville Junior High and Castle High School shot their way to state championships on March 9 at Kokomo in Indiana’s first National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament.

So far, about 30 schools in the state participate in the NASP, though only eight of those competed at the state meet.

The tournament was divided into elementary, middle and high school categories.

Boonville Junior High won the middle school division with 2,817 team points, defeating Roosevelt Middle School, which finished with 2,698 points.

Castle won the high school division with 2,981 points, while Borden was second and Boonville was third.

Boonville Junior High coach Rick Whitney has held an after-school archery club for years, and when he found out about the state NASP program, he decided to get involved.

Along with two other teachers at the school — Chris Hillenbrand and Brooke Hart — Whitney helped raise the funds to get things started.

The school needed a kit containing 11 bows, five targets, 60 arrows, a repair kit and a bow rack.

“The kit cost $2,500, so we had fundraisers, got grants and found sponsors,” said Whitney. “I think this will just grow now. This (the NASP) started in Kentucky, and now it has grown into just about all states, and even into Australia. It helps students that do not normally get to participate in sports.”

Boonville Junior High has 20 members on its team, most of them recruited after each student in the school went through the archery program in physical education class.

“It was nice, because every student in our school got a chance to do this,” said Whitney. “Some of them on our team had never shot before they got on this program. Others of them had shot with me before.”

The competition is fairly simple. Each archer gets three rounds of five arrows each at 10 meters, then another three rounds at 15 meters. The top possible individual score is 300. To compile a team score, at least four members of each gender must be included.

State champions in each division qualify for the national NASP competition in Louisville on June 9. The top five individuals in each division also qualify for the national tournament.

Castle senior Kate Whitacre was the top female scorer at the high school level, with a score of 262. Fellow Knight Melissa Wagner was just two points behind, with a 260.

The top male archer for the high school division was Borden’s Chris Howlett with a 269. Brian Hatfield of Castle was second at 268, while Boonville’s Tyler Belcher was third with a score of 266.

At the middle school level, Boonville’s Matthew Porter shot a 268, followed by teammate Zach Henderson with a 255. The Panthers also swept the top four places for the girls middle school division, led by Taylor Gentry with 252 and Katie Powell with 225.

Supported as a joint venture between school corporations throughout Indiana and the Department of Natural Resources, NASP supports student education and participation in the lifelong sport of archery. The program provides international target archery training in Indiana's physical educational classes, grades K-12. Tournament team competitors are limited to NASP participants.

NASP is found in nearly every state. In Indiana, more than 30 elementary, middle and high schools participate. NASP started in Kentucky in 2002, with 39 educators in 22 middle schools. Currently, it is offered in nearly one in four Kentucky schools as part of the educational curriculum.

The program is supported and often funded through local school corporations, the Indiana Hunter Education Association, individual donations, conservation organizations and corporate sponsors such as the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Whitney said that Boonville Junior High will probably go looking for more sponsors before next year’s state tournament.

“If anybody is interested in donating money to the BJHS archery fund, that would be great,” said Whitney. “We already need more equipment. If we want to do a team for the seventh grade and another team for the eighth grade, we’ll need another $2,500 kit. And I have already had some people donate money, including one teacher here at the school.”

Article Here

Students take aim at archery

AT SOME POINT almost every youngster ties a string to a bent limb, sharpens a slender stick to make an arrow and tries to emulate Robin Hood, an Olympic archer or his bowhunting father.

Nearly 350 young archers will get the chance to draw the string on a bow in the National Archery in Schools Program state competition Friday during the first day of the 23rd annual Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic at the S.C. State Fairgrounds.

“We had 176 students in the competition last year, and we already have 346 signed up for this year’s tournament,” said DNR First Sgt. Dennetta Dawson, who spearheaded the Archery in the Schools Program in South Carolina and has served as its coordinator.

The tournament, with competitors from fourth through 12th grade from schools across the state, features individual and team competition, shooting Olympic-style targets. Midlands schools fielding teams include Mid-Carolina High School, Lexington High School and Pine Ridge Middle School.

Participants will shoot 15 arrows at 10 meters and another 15 at 15 meters, aiming for a possible score of 300. Winners will receive medals and trophies, and the top individual boy and girl archer will win a Genesis Bow.

Two-time national intermediate champion Tom Jeffery, who operates Jeffery Archery in Columbia, will be field judge for the event.

Dawson, honored last year as South Carolina’s conservation officer of the year and last month as South Carolina’s top wildlife officer at the annual convention of the National Wild Turkey Federation in Nashville, said archery is a fast-growing activity in state schools.

“What makes it so wonderful is that teachers can do it within the school system. This program is very organized with all the materials they need academically and all the equipment they need for shooting,” she said “The training is very good, and it is easy for a teacher to pick it up.”

Started in Kentucky in 2002, NASP promotes student education and participation in shooting sports. Each year more than half a million students learn archery skills during school hours in 42 states and Australia.

For information on how a school can participate in the Archery in the Schools Program in South Carolina, call Sgt. Jim Wagers, DNR Hunting and Boating education coordinator, at (803) 734-3999, or e-mail him at wagersj@dnr.sc.gov. You can get details at www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting/archery/index.html.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Unalarming, impeccable ruling: Wash Times Article

Read Article Here

Unalarming, impeccable ruling

By Bruce Fein
March 20, 2007

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a constitutional right of individuals to keep handguns suitable for militia duty in the home under the Second Amendment in Parker v. District of Columbia (March 9, 2007). Writing for a 2-1 panel majority, Judge Laurence Silberman convincingly demonstrated that any other conclusion would require flouting language carefully chosen by the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment's self-defense purposes. His opinion sets a standard of constitutional interpretation to which the wise and honest may repair.
The usual suspects raced to insinuate Parker would fuel more inner-city violence and would hamstring legislatures in fashioning effective gun control measures. But the alarmists are wrong. A Kalishnikoff or AK-47 culture is not on the horizon. Judge Silberman left ample room for reasonable handgun regulation in the name of public safety, for example, prohibiting ownership by felons or the carrying of firearms concealed or in public places.
D.C. residents brought suit to challenge the constitutionality of D.C. Code provisions that prohibited handguns in the home and required all lawfully owned firearms to be kept unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device. The plaintiffs desired handguns for self-defense. The Parker ruling sustained their Second Amendment claim.
The amendment declares: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It was ratified in part to answer Antifederalist critics of the Constitution who worried over the absence of an express enumeration of individual rights. That had been a venerated British tradition. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 was emblematic. Among other things, it stipulated "[t]hat the Subjects, which are Protestants, may have Arms for their Defense, suitable to their conditions, as allowed by law."
Every provision of the Bill of Rights (but the tautological Tenth Amendment's demarcation between state and federal power) protects individual rights. The First Amendment, for example, guarantees an individual right to free speech. The Fourth Amendment safeguards an individual right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It would confound the manifest intent of the Bill of Rights to exclude an individual right to possess arms for private use from the Second Amendment's ambit. That conclusion is confirmed by its purposes: namely, to enable private defense against lawless individuals and to resist a tyrannical government.
The District of Columbia maintained that the amendment should protect only organized state militias of the Founding era from congressional encroachments and a right to bear arms in connection with performing militia service. Since state militias are now defunct, the District in essence argued that the Second Amendment is obsolete and places no limitations on banning firearms.
But as Judge Silberman underscored, if that were the intent of the Framers, the Second Amendment would have been rewritten to provide: "Congress shall make no law disarming state militias" or "States have a right to a well-regulated militia." Further, the right to "keep" arms celebrated in the amendment is distinct from the right to "bear" arms in conjunction with militia service. The Framers were not clumsy or inarticulate writers.
In addition, the Second Amendment broadly conceived the term "militia" to include all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense and who were enrolled for military discipline. Protecting an individual right to keep and bear arms suitable for militia service harmonizes with ensuring that the militia could serve when summoned to duty. In other words, the individual right complements the collective right of state governments to preserve and arm their militias.
All constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, are subject to reasonable restrictions. The First Amendment, for instance, tolerates time, place and manner restrictions on protected expression. Obscenity, child pornography and fighting words may be punished.
The Second Amendment is no different. Nothing in Parker casts a cloud over prohibiting firearms in churches, schools, workplaces or public places to promote the government's interest in domestic tranquility. Neither does the precedent undercut laws requiring proficiency testing or forbidding firearms to criminals, the insane, the inebriated or the mentally unstable.
The District of Columbia's undiscriminating prohibition of handguns, however, was a prohibition, not a balanced regulation that gave breathing space to the Second Amendment. If Parker garners review in the United States Supreme Court, the odds would highly favor its affirmation. But the vast majority of gun control laws would remain undisturbed.

Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer and international consultant with Bruce Fein & Associates and the Lichfield Group.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Second Amendment article appears in Chigago Trib.

Read Article Here

Signs of life stir in 2nd Amendment
Steve Chapman

March 18, 2007

For nearly 70 years, the 2nd Amendment has been the Jimmy Hoffa of constitutional provisions--missing, its whereabouts unknown, and presumed dead. The right to keep and bear arms, though treasured by many Americans, was a complete stranger to the Supreme Court. But recently, a federal appeals court did something no federal court had ever done before: It struck down a gun-control law as a violation of the 2nd Amendment.

The District of Columbia statute in question is one of the most stringent in the country. It bans the ownership of handguns except those registered before 1976, and it requires rifles or shotguns to be not only registered but kept unloaded and equipped with a trigger lock. Such tight restrictions, the appeals court said, can't be reconciled with the Bill of Rights.

The decision does not prove that the 2nd Amendment is alive and well. But it does mean that, finally, we are likely to get an answer from the Supreme Court on a question that has generated endless debate: Is the 2nd Amendment a meaningless anachronism, or a live guarantee? The court will be confronting the issue at a time when legal scholarship is increasingly inclined to say there is indeed a right to keep and bear arms.

The full text of the provision is: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." In its last significant 2nd Amendment case, in 1939, the court didn't exactly say there was no individual right. Instead, it said the firearm at issue, a sawed-off shotgun, would not be of use to someone serving in a militia. The question of an individual right was left unresolved.

The amendment is a puzzle because of those two separate clauses, one about militias and one about gun rights. Gun-control supporters generally read the first to nullify the second, while gun-control opponents do just the opposite. And trying to determine what the framers meant is hard because they barely discussed the right and what it might entail.

Second Amendment skeptics think any right is a collective one related to militias that no longer exist. But just because the colonial Minutemen have vanished doesn't mean they took the rest of the 2nd Amendment with them. It's hard to know exactly what the text means by a right to keep and bear arms, but it must mean something.

Even some liberal constitutional experts now agree that gun ownership enjoys constitutional protection. The most notable is Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who once subscribed to the collective-rights theory. The amendment, he writes, recognizes "a right [admittedly of uncertain scope] on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in defense of themselves and their homes." The appeals court agreed, striking down Washington's prohibition of handguns in the home as well as the regulations on other guns.

It would be a stunning turnabout if the Supreme Court adopts that view. It would remove some of the most extreme laws from the books--such as the near-total ban on handguns in Chicago and some suburban communities. Gun rights would feel sweet vindication.

But there is consolation for the other side as well. The appeals court made clear that a host of other limits on firearms possession are constitutionally permissible. States, it said, could forbid the carrying of concealed handguns, require registration of firearms and mandate training for gun owners.

So if this decision is upheld, it will not change our treatment of guns very much. Complete bans would be off-limits, but they are already rarer than white buffaloes. Most other gun-control laws would remain on the books, and anti-gun groups would be free to press for additional ones.

The only obstacle would be the one that has stymied them in the past: insufficient public support. It wasn't the constitutional right to keep and bear arms that induced Congress to let the federal ban on "assault weapons" expire, or persuaded 40 states to allow the carrying of concealed handguns. Those choices were the product of sentiment among citizens and legislators who see most restrictions on firearms as futile at best and dangerous at worst.

The bad news for gun-control advocates is that the Supreme Court may adopt an expansive view of the 2nd Amendment. The worse news is that's the least of their troubles.

Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune's editorial board. E-mail: schapman@tribune.com
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Write to Mr Chapman and thank him for his positive article

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting

The sooner we as hunters realize this the better. The anti hunters and the anti gun community have a common enemy and feed off each other's victories. They gain these victories by creating a fissure within the shooting sports community and then exploiting it. They use terms and arguments such as "sporting purposes" and "we are not after your sporting arms." to create a false sense of security in the hunting ranks.
At the same time the HSUS and other anti hunting orgs. target vunerable hunting methods and seasons, they even use the same type of argument "it's not sporting" or "it's not fair chase". Hmmm, there is that word again: Sporting.

By HSUS targeting and winning victories with, as an example, dove hunting, they begin to gain an incremental reason for anti gun orgs. to target semi automatic shot guns. This is how WE give them the ammo they need to use against us. Hunters that would never give dove hunting a second thought have, in fact, given the anti gun orgs. a bullet to use against semi auto shotguns. Some States disallow the use of semi auto weapons in many aspects of hunting, this calls into question the "sporting use" of these weapons giving more wiggle room to the anti gun orgs.

We can no longer afford to keep the divisive categories within our ranks; shooters, hunters, archers, bowhunters, crossbow hunters. These are antiquated and counter productive to the preservation of all of our "sports". We are marksmen, nothing more, nothing less; wether I use a bow or a .50 caliber I am a marksman. Wether I shoot paper, clays, 3D targets or live game I am a marksman. I practice my marksmanship to be the best I can be at whatever pursuit I choose to partake in.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Local NBC Station reports Armed Citizen Story

Police in Memphis say a gunman firing a pistol beside a busy city street was subdued by two passers-by who were also armed.

No one was hurt during the incident that apparently began with a minor traffic accident, but one passing car was believed hit by a bullet.

Brothers William Webber and Paul Webber told police they stopped their car and pulled their own pistols when they saw a man firing a handgun yesterday.

The brothers said they ordered the man to drop his weapon and then held him at gunpoint until police arrived a few minutes later. Police say the Webbers did not fire their pistols.

Police arrested Dementrius Roberson and charged him with reckless endangerment. Police say the Webber brothers and Roberson have licenses to carry firearms.

Paul Webber says Roberson was firing across traffic and they couldn't tell why he was shooting.

Read and post comments here

These are the types of good stories we need to positively reinforce with letters and comments to their publications and outlets.

DC Gun Ban Overturned on appeal

From The NRA/ILA website

Fairfax, VA- The District of Columbia Circuit Court today affirmed that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an inherent, individual right to bear arms. Today’s ruling should have a positive impact on the current D.C. gun ban, the National Rifle Association is fighting to overcome.

The majority opinion of the court states, "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people,' when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." The majority opinion sums up its holding on this point as follows: The D.C. Circuit Court went further in upholding individual freedoms, rejecting the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District because it is not a State.

The D.C. City Council is expected to appeal the ruling.

You may read the majority opinion here

This is very positive although there is still appeals that can be brought.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Jim Zumbo: Letter to Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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

Dear Alan:

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.

Jim Zumbo

We at OHPA send a heartfelt thank you to Jim Zumbo.